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San Jose McEnery
Convention Center
San Jose Photos 067 (26174736630).jpg
Main entrance on West San Carlos Street, 2014
Address 150 West San Carlos Street
Location San Jose, California
Coordinates 37°19′43″N 121°53′20″W / 37.32861°N 121.88889°W / 37.32861; -121.88889Coordinates: 37°19′43″N 121°53′20″W / 37.32861°N 121.88889°W / 37.32861; -121.88889
Operator Team San Jose
Opened 1989
Former name(s) San Jose Convention Center (1989–1991)
Enclosed space
 Total space Main hall: 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2)
South Hall: 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)
 Exhibit hall floor Main hall: 165,000 sq ft (15,300 m2)
South Hall: 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)

The San Jose McEnery Convention Center (popularly known as the San Jose Convention Center) is a convention center in San Jose, California, United States. The 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) facility is the largest convention center in Silicon Valley. It is named after Tom McEnery, a former Mayor of San Jose.

The San Jose Convention Center opened in 1989, replacing a convention hall of the same name at San Jose Civic (then called the Civic Auditorium). The South Hall opened in 2005, and the main hall was renovated and expanded in 2013. Team San Jose manages the convention center along with several nearby event centers.

The main hall hosts numerous technology conferences and conventions, such as Facebook F8 and Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, while the South Hall has hosted auto shows and political campaign stops.

Facility

The convention center covers 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2), including 165,000 square feet (15,300 m2) of exhibit space, 31 meeting rooms, and banquet facilities for some 5,000. There are entrances on West San Carlos Street, Almaden Boulevard, and South Market Street. The San Jose Hilton and Marriott hotels both adjoin the convention center. A two-story hallway connecting the three entrances is called the "Parkway" on the ground floor and the "Concourse" on the second floor.

A recessed main entrance along West San Carlos Street features two prominent art installations. A tile mural by Lin Utzon (1988) adorns a façade surrounding the entrance. The two-story-tall mural, resembling a flock of birds in flight, consists of over 8,000 red, white, and black porcelain tiles manufactured by Royal Copenhagen. An interactive sculpture, Idea Tree by South Korean architect Soo-in Yang, stands in the plaza fronting the entrance. In the lobby hangs a 1993 life-size bronze and steel sculpture, Winged Guardian by Stephen De Staebler.

The South Hall, a metal-framed fabric structure, adds another 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) of exhibit space, for a joint total of 245,000 square feet (22,800 m2). It can accommodate 11,428 people, or 5,333 people with exhibits. It is surrounded by a public parking lot on a 191,668-square-foot (17,806.5 m2) site. City leaders have called for the South Hall's demolition at various times since it was erected in 2005 as a temporary structure; nevertheless, the city considers it important for attracting large events to the convention center. The South Hall and surrounding parking lot are owned by the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency (SARA) of San Jose. The South Hall's maintenance costs $38,000 each year, while demolition is estimated to cost at least $1 million.

The convention center is located one block from the San Carlos Street exit of California State Route 87 and two blocks from the Almaden Boulevard exit of southbound Interstate 280. California State Route 82 also passed by the convention center on South Market Street until this portion of the route was relinquished to San Jose in 2013. The public Convention Center Parking Garage is connected to the convention center. Public surface parking lots are located across Almaden Boulevard to the west and across Viola Street surrounding the South Hall.

The convention center is also accessible by public transportation. The Convention Center VTA light rail station is located directly in front of the convention center's main entrance on West San Carlos Street. The station is served by the Alum Rock–Santa Teresa and Mountain View–Winchester lines. It is two stops away from the multimodal San Jose Diridon station. The convention center is also served by VTA local and express bus routes, San Jose State University's free Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH), and a Ford GoBike bicycle sharing station across West San Carlos Street.

History

The first general-purpose event center in San Jose was the Santa Clara County Horticultural Society's Horticultural Hall, which operated for about 30 years from 1886 until the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds opened. Civic Auditorium served as the city's main events venue from its opening in 1933 as Municipal Auditorium.

In 1957, voters approved a bond measure for the construction of a modern convention center. Construction on Jay McCabe Convention Hall began in December 1952, and the facility opened in 1964 with the Loyal Order of Moose national convention.

San Jose Convention Center
Front of San Jose Convention Center as it appeared in 2008

With the opening of the Anaheim Convention Center in 1967, city officials became dissatisfied with Civic Auditorium and McCabe Hall and sought a replacement. Based on a study by Stanford Research Institute in 1970, the city commissioned architect William Hedley and Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum to draw up plans for a "Community Plaza" superblock centered around a new convention hall. In October 1973, Mayor Norman Mineta approved $2.4 million for the new convention hall, which would be a wing of Civic Auditorium (now called San Jose Civic), along with an underground parking structure. However, by November 1974, the plans had been downsized to a mere 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of exhibit space and an above-ground parking garage. The new San Jose Convention Center broke ground on November 18, 1975, and was dedicated by Mayor Janet Gray Hayes on September 22, 1977.

Mozilla All-hands 2011 (6203213948)
An aerial view of the San Jose Convention Center in 2011.

The second and current San Jose Convention Center was approved by Mayor Tom McEnery in 1983 as part of an urban renewal project that displaced a low-income, Hispanic neighborhood. The 425,000-square-foot (39,500 m2) convention center was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, Daniel Mann Johnson Mendenhall, and the Steinberg Group. Blount Construction was the general contractor. The new convention center cost $147 million (equivalent to $254 million in 2016) to build, of which the San Jose Redevelopment Agency contributed $143 million ($247 million). It opened in 1989. Meanwhile, the 1977 convention center was renamed Parkside Hall. "The Garage", now The Tech Interactive, moved into McCabe Hall in 1990. In 1991, the San Jose Convention Center was renamed the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in honor of the former mayor.

SJCC March 2012
The convention center's new wing under construction in 2012.

In its early years, the new convention center failed to meet attendance and revenue expectations. By 2002, many Silicon Valley businesses were choosing the much larger Moscone Center in San Francisco over the San Jose Convention Center due to the latter's limited space. A ballot measure to finance an expansion via a hotel tax failed to reach the required two-thirds majority to pass. In June 2005, Team San Jose built the South Hall, a $6.77 million, blue and white tent, adding 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) of exhibit space.

In 2009, local hotels agreed to a hotel tax increase to fund the convention center's renovation and expansion. On October 10, 2013, the convention center completed the $130 million project, which added 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) on the site of the former Martin Luther King Jr. Library. The San José Public Library relocated its main branch to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on the San Jose State University campus.

In 2018, SARA put the South Hall site up for sale.

Events

Facebook F8 Developer's Conference 2017 (33324521213)
Facebook F8 2017.

The convention center hosts hundreds of events each year, including the following annual events:

  • Silicon Valley International Auto Show in January
  • Furcon in January
  • Silicon Valley Comic Con in March (2016–2018), August (from 2019)
  • Facebook F8 in April or May (since 2017)
  • Big Wow! ComicFest in May
  • FanimeCon during Memorial Day weekend in May (since 2004)
  • Apple Worldwide Developers Conference May (1989–2002), June (2017–2019)
  • Crunchyroll Expo in late August or early September (2018–2019)
  • Raw & Superstars January 22 - February 5, 1996
Outside of Game Developers Conference 2004
Game Developers Conference 2004.

Other notable events at the convention center have included:

  • 1993 and 1996 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference
  • 1997 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference
  • 1998 LinuxWorld Conference and Expo
  • 2002 and 2018 World Science Fiction Convention
  • 2004 and 2006 Game Developers Conference
  • 2013 Creative Convergence Silicon Valley
  • WrestleMania Axxess for WWE's WrestleMania 31 in 2015
  • 2016 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • A rally for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign that prompted rioting
  • Genesis 3 and 4 in 2016 and 2017, respectively; The final day of the tournament occurred at City National Civic
  • 2018 TwitchCon
  • The NHL Fan Fair for the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star Game
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