It’s Boom Time in San Francisco

san fran Hotels

Photo credit: sf.curbed.com

We manage a lot of events in San Francisco and we recently met with the manager of San Francisco Travel to get updated on the many new happenings taking place.

As you can imagine, tourism is San Francisco’s major industry drawing tourists from all over the world. It is the ultimate destination for meetings because of the sights, scenery, rich history, diversity, amazing cuisine and more. San Francisco is expanding and there are multiple large scale projects in the works. One renovation includes the expansion of Moscone Center, which is San Francisco’s primary large-scale meeting facility. It is just blocks away from Union Square and is central to hotels, restaurants, museums and transportation. They completed a $56 million renovation in 2012 that transformed the property with new color schemes, carpeting, lighting, upgraded lobbies, restrooms, elevators, escalators and HVAC upgrades. A $4.5 million wireless system was installed, providing high speed service to as many as 60,000 devices at one time. The newest expansion is slated to be completed by 2018 and will add approximately 400,000 square feet to the convention center, including 80,000 or more sq ft of exhibit space which is essential for attracting larger conventions.

The San Francisco MOMA will triple in size and will undergo a 235,000 sq ft expansion which will provide almost six times as much public space. It is an inspirational setting for events of all kinds with rental space available for small or large private corporate gatherings. Construction of the expansion is now underway and is expected to be finished by 2016. SFMOMA is temporarily closed during renovations and scheduled to reopen on January 1, 2016.

Getting around town will get a lot more convenient in the near future. “The Transbay Transit Center Project is a visionary transportation and housing project that transforms downtown San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional transportation system by creating a ‘Grand Central Station of the West’ in the heart of a new transit-friendly neighborhood”. The estimated $4.5 billion project will replace the former Transbay Terminal with a modern transit hub connecting eight Bay Area counties and the State of California through 11 transit systems.

The Central Subway link expansion will provide rail service into Chinatown, which is not currently served by rail. The new, 1.7 -mile light rail line will provide a direct connection to SOMA, the Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown. It will also connect the Mission Bay community, the new University of California campus and the revitalized Bayview-Hunters Point to downtown and improve connections to BART and Caltrain, the Bay Area’s two largest regional commuter rail services.

Lyft pic

Photo credit: lyft.com

In terms of getting around the city, San Francisco has something called Lyft pronounced ‘lift’. It’s an alternative to taxis since they are hard to come by in San Francisco. Lyft allows riders to set up an account, pay with a preloaded credit card, request a ride with a click of a smart phone and track it on Google map. Drivers are then matched with passengers who request rides through the Lyft iPhone or Android mobile app. It’s far more efficient than calling a dispatcher and wondering whether a cab will show up.  You don’t have to worry about having enough cash on hand to pay for a taxi with their convenient pre-loaded credit system. “We are offering a more enjoyable alternative,” said John Zimmer, co-founder of Lyft, in which their cars are outfitted with whimsical fuzzy pink mustaches as a great eye catching branding tool. “We offer a marginally less-expensive experience with extreme convenience and personality experience.” The popularity of these companies has taxi companies worried. The lower cost, convenience and uniqueness of Lyft are becoming a boom to this new startup company.

There are so many hotels in San Francisco to choose from. Here are a few highlights of hotel developments happening in 2014: 950 Market Street is set to include a 250-room hotel, 316 residential units, 15,000 sq. ft. of retail and a 75,000 sq. ft. arts complex. The historic Renoir Hotel closed its doors last year in order to begin a $40 million extensive remodel that will turn it from a low-level venue into a high-end boutique with a rooftop bar.  The San Francisco International Airport is building a 400-room luxury hotel, to be located near Highway 101, as part of a massive $4.1 billion investment plan. The 10-year long project has already started with building a new control tower with upgrades to the boarding area.  Hotel G, a well-established brand in Asia is almost ready to open its first U.S hotel. The 153-room hotel formerly known as Hotel Frank has undergone a drastic makeover at the historic property on Geary Street and will open this summer. The recent purchase of the existing Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf for $132 million means remodel time for the 335 room hotel and conference center which is set on an entire block in the busy tourist area.. An additional $20 million has been budgeted for the remodel that is slated to be complete in 2015. Villa Florence, a stylish boutique hotel, is located in historic Union Square and has 182 deluxe guest rooms with easy access to Moscone Center and more. They have catering by Kuleto’s which serves contemporary Italian cuisine with the freshest ingredients hand-picked by local family farmers. It has four private dining rooms with seating for up to 72 guests and a full range of AV.

Please let us know if you need any help planning your company’s next event in Sand Francisco.  We have key contacts with major hotels, special event venues and restaurants for private dining options.