San Francisco city officials celebrated a key milestone in a massive project at Moscone Convention Center that is expected to expand the center's space by 21 percent.
The newly completed second phase of the $551 million project included the expansion of Moscone North and South, which have been closed since April.
When finished, the Moscone Expansion Project is expected to increase the convention center's space from 1.2 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet. The expanded facility will include more than 80 flexible meeting rooms, a 50,000 square foot ballroom and more than 500,000 square feet of exhibition space and outdoor terraces.
In addition, the area around the center will see wider sidewalks, new open-air plazas, improved landscaping and four new public art pieces.
The building has been designed for LEED Platinum certification, with a zero-emission electric grid and solar panels that are expected to generate nearly 20 percent of its energy needs.
The convention center is a major economic engine for the city. Of the 25.2 million visitors to San Francisco in 2016, 35 percent came here for conventions and meetings, city officials said.
"With tourism being the top industry of San Francisco, we need to ensure that our travelers and convention-goers can enjoy state-of-the-art amenities and cutting-edge resources," Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. "The
Moscone expansion project will make our convention center an even more attractive and innovative site for our visitors."
While the two buildings have reopened, work will continue through the fall of 2018. The final phase will include two pedestrian bridges over Howard Street and pedestrian safety improvements, as well as the second half of the Moscone South building and Moscone North extension.
The convention center will remain open during construction.