Monterey County will be celebrating an exciting new year with the grand reopening of the highly anticipated, newly renovated $60 million Monterey Conference Center in January 2018. This will be a momentous occasion as the Conference Center, located in the heart of historic downtown City of Monterey, will be a catalyst for the revitalization of the city and the economic engine that will accelerate growth that contributes to quality of life for the community.
 
"The renovation and grand reopening of this modern, state-of-the-art building will be an important contribution to the continued economic revitalization of Monterey and the Monterey Peninsula. Groups meeting or hosting events in the Monterey Conference Center will also be spending money in our communities including local hotels, attractions, restaurants and shops,” says Mike McCarthy, City Manager of the City of Monterey. “The renovation of the Conference Center could not have happened without the generous support and funding from our hoteliers.”

Monterey Conference Center
 
The Monterey Conference Center will be a modern, LEED-certified meeting facility with more than 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a capacity of 3,200 people. The facility is adjacent to the newly renovated Portola Hotel & Spa and connected to the Monterey Marriott. Altogether, these properties will offer 85,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 19,150 square feet of exhibition space and 700 hotel rooms. The Conference Center is expected to draw new group business that will benefit all hotels within the City of Monterey and beyond. 
 
“What better way to kick off a new year than by welcoming visitors to the new Monterey Conference Center and our destination,” says Tammy Blount, President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCCVB). “We see the facility as a regional hub of innovation that will capitalize on our destination’s natural allure and, together, help drive new thinking for group attendees.” 
 
The Monterey Conference Center opened its doors on April 30, 1977, and became instrumental for the growth of the hospitality and tourism industries in Monterey County. Over the years, the Conference Center hosted a number of notable events including the first-ever TED Conference in 1984. 
 
When the City of Monterey was looking to redesign and rebrand the Monterey Conference Center, they hired Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), a leading architecture, interior design, engineering and urban planning firm. The MCCVB led the rebranding program working with SOM and the City of Monterey which led to the new tagline – “Where Innovation & Inspiration Meet.” Monterey is a community that is rich in history and heritage, therefore architects behind the redesign wanted to preserve the historical character of the building and area while transforming the structure into a more modern conference center that would resonate with the current generation of clients and attendees. In an effort to achieve LEED-NC Platinum designation, the Monterey Conference Center will also be adding solar panels to the building.
 
“Our redesign is conscious of the goal to contemporize the site while building within the principles of the historic center and the original building’s classic style,” says Michael Duncan, Design Director of SOM in San Francisco. “The new Conference Center energizes the adjacent Portola Plaza and simultaneously embodies and facilitates connectedness— of people and ideas, of downtown businesses to waterfront amenities, and of a community to its future.”
 
With the grand reopening just a few weeks away, groups have already begun to book meetings and events in the new space for 2018… and years to come! The Monterey Conference Center will celebrate the reopening of the facility with the community during a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.