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Moscone Center expansion hits construction milestone, set to open in 2019

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Construction workers lifted the last beam into place Monday at a topping out ceremony for the $551 million Moscone Center expansion project, which is set to open in 2019. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

A crane carried the last steel beam high above an awed crowd Monday, as construction workers steered it slowly and carefully to rest above a new Moscone Center pedestrian bridge.

The construction ritual known as “topping out” marked a major milestone in the convention center’s $551 million expansion, which is set to open Jan. 3, 2019.

“As someone who remembers the construction of Moscone Center as a child … It’s an incredible honor to be here,” said Mayor Mark Farrell, at the ceremony. A bevy of officials and dozens of construction workers from the construction contractor, Webcor, stood in attendance and signed the beam before it was lifted into place.

The expansion will increase the size of San Francisco’s premiere convention center by 21 percent, according to Department of Public Works officials, with a 50,000 square foot grand ballroom and more than 500,000 square feet of exhibition space. The project broke ground in 2015.

Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, told those gathered Monday that the project will help bring even more tourism dollars to The City.

About 20 percent of San Francisco’s annual 25 million visitors “pass through the doors” of Moscone Center and “spend millions and millions in our economy,” he said.

Mohammed Nuru, director of Public Works, noted that the project includes public space, including public art installations, parks and playground spaces for the South of Market neighborhood.

“We will see a different neighborhood,” he said, one that is “safe” and “more inviting.”

Farrell promised that “this is a project that will be on time and on budget.

Farrell joked, “Mohammed is closing his ears, but we’ll have a talk later.”

The final phase of the project will see construction completed on the western half of the Moscone South building and two pedestrian bridges above Howard Street, according to Public Works.

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