The renovated meeting facility provides more than 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a capacity of 3,200 people, as well as an art gallery and administrative offices.
Exterior renovations created an outside extension of the conference center and brings together the adjacent Monterey Marriott and recently renovated Portola Hotel & Spa with a plaza that creates a convenient connection for visitors walking between buildings. Together, these properties offer a combined 85,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 19,150 square feet of exhibition space and 700 hotel rooms.
The enlarged lobby of the Monterey Conference Center features double-height glazing, while skylights and clerestory windows bring natural light deep into the building accenting the interiors details, including its wooden beams and ceilings. At night, light from the plaza creates a soft glow that covers the building’s second-story wood and glass screens. An oval-shaped oculus and a large outdoor terrace overlook Portola Plaza, providing visitors with a memorable view of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Careful consideration was given to keep three of the ballrooms in operation during the demolition and construction periods of the $60 million project, while all other spaces were shut down for the duration of the project. But the economic and aesthetic payoff since opening has been worth the disruption.
“These renovations have totally reinvigorated the center and it is giving an economic boost to the downtown, attracting a lot of new groups and visitors to the area,” Shewchuk said. “It has returned to its role of an economic driver for the scenic waterfront.”
Among its many events, the facility hosts several classic car shows and auctions, including the Monterey Car Week show held in late August. The Monterey Conference Center was designed to include a door and pathway that allows vehicles to enter the building for these events.
Groundbreaking for the renovations was held in late 2015, and a grand opening ceremony marked the completion of the project in January.