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$22 Million Renovation Brings Cutting-Edge Technology to the San Jose McEnery Convention Center

By Michael J. Shapiro

Meetings & Conventions

The San Jose McEnery Convention Center wrapped up a $22 million renovation project last month, bringing major upgrades to the lighting capabilities and audiovisual infrastructure in the exhibit halls. The project pushes the envelope for convention center technology: A new 4K lighting chip -- a flexible, warm daylight tone -- was developed specifically for the venue, as was a custom Meyer Sound configuration. The new setup allows unprecedented control for show producers in the venue, down to automated, remote control over individual lights and speakers. The ceiling of the exhibit halls was removed as well, greatly increasing the efficiency in show turnover and facilitating complicated rigging requirements.

The Bay Area is about to get even better connected, thanks to the Silicon Valley Extension project, introducing Bay Area Rapid Transit service to San Jose. Phase I of the project, slated to debut in June 2018, will consist of the 10-mile, two-station Berryessa Extension -- bringing BART from Fremont through Milpitas and down to the Berryessa area north of San Jose. Phase II, scheduled to wrap up in 2026, will add a 5-mile subway tunnel through downtown San Jose, ending in Santa Clara near the Caltrain station. The 805-room Fairmont San Jose revealed the renovated guest rooms in its South Tower earlier this year, with new carpeting, furniture and more. The property's 67,000 square feet of meeting space also has been refreshed. Still to come are upgrades to the South Tower's banquet rooms and the Club Regent, to be completed later this year. A newly-planned 173-room Kimpton Hotel will be part of the new Museum Place development, one block from the convention center. The hotel, Kimpton's first in the city, is expected to open in mid-2021. Museum Place also will consist of a 54,000-square-foot expansion to the Tech Museum of Innovation, along with residential units, retail space, restaurants and office space.

Meeting Hotels: Downtown properties near San Jose's McEnery Convention Center include the 805-room Fairmont San Jose, 506-room San Jose Marriott, 353-room Hilton San Jose, 234-room Hyatt Place San Jose Downtown, 210-room AC Hotel by Marriott San Jose Downtown, 171-room Westin San Jose, 100-room Hotel De Anza and 86-room Four Points by Sheraton San Jose Downtown.

San Jose McEnery Convention Center: Exhibit space, approximately 214,760 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 43; (800) 726-5673

Airport Transit: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, 3.9 miles northwest of the convention center. Transfer cost by airport shuttle, free to light rail, then $2 to downtown; by taxi to downtown, $25; by Uber to downtown, $12--$15. Airports in San Francisco and Oakland are 30 to 45 minutes away and average $100--$110 by taxi.

Taxes: Room tax, 14%; sales tax, 9.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, about 14%

Group Venue: Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, few facilities are as representative of the local mindset as the Tech Museum of Innovation. The highly configurable floor plan encompasses 130,000 square feet of space, making the venue as easily adaptable for small group dinners as for large corporate receptions. The installations in the museum make for built-in entertainment as well: Take the current "Reboot Reality" exhibit, with its interactive VR experiences. When guests strap into the Birdly flying simulator, for instance, they flap their wings to fly across the Manhattan skyline, their point of view projected on a screen for the rest of the group to see. (408) 795-6221.

Contact: Team San Jose/Visit San Jose: 800-SAN-JOSE.

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