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The benefits of hosting events in San Francisco’s biggest biotech hub

The South San Francisco area continues to flourish as a biotech hub, making it an ideal location for MICE events

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The South San Francisco Conference Centre offers 20,500sq ft of flexible meeting space across multiple rooms 

Situated north of San Francisco International Airport and only 15 minutes away from Silicon Valley, the South San Francisco Conference Centre is an ideal location for doing business. Equipped with some of the world’s most advanced business technology and a team possessing impressive local knowledge, it is unsurprising that the centre – an industry favourite when it comes to hosting world-class meetings and conferences – has been named Best Meetings and Conference Centre, North America in the 2016 Business Destinations Travel Awards.

Drawing in crowds
The centre’s location is perfectly matched by its exceptional transport links. South San Francisco is a global leader in transportation options, offering ample highways, railways, ocean cargo links and three international airports. Complimentary parking is available at the centre, as well as a free weekday shuttle to and from the South San Francisco BART station, CalTrain station and South San Francisco ferry terminal. In the area surrounding the centre, visitors have access to over 3,000 hotel rooms and motel lodgings, making it the perfect destination for those arriving from out of state.

Additionally, the centre’s attentive team is more than happy to assist with group bookings, ranging from organising group accommodation to overseeing the set-up and running of crucial functions. Offering highly competitive rates for these top-quality services, including technical assistance and customised requests, the South San Francisco Conference Centre strives to ensure that all its events run smoothly and successfully.

South San Francisco, where the South San Francisco Conference Centre is located, is a biotech hub with 15 research and development campuses

One of the key drivers behind the centre’s ability to organise and host extraordinary events is its range of facilities and technologies. The centre boasts 20,500sq ft of flexible meeting space, including a dramatic and well-lit glass atrium, which serves as the perfect pre-function meeting location. The centre also offers a further 3,600sq ft of pre-function space that surrounds its magnificent ballroom. Moreover, the Grand Ballroom can be divided into as many as 10 meeting rooms, while the Baden Room can be halved or expanded with the addition of the Oyster Point Room. All meeting rooms are soundproofed and, uniquely, vehicles can enter the ballroom, creating the potential for motor shows and other innovative corporate displays.

Projection Presentation Technology has been the preferred in-house audio-visual provider for the centre since it opened in 1993. Audio systems for speakers, panels, musicians, video broadcasts and teleconferencing are all available, as well as atmospheric staging and professional theatrical lighting. The facility also features wireless internet access throughout, with fibre-optic connectivity that can support even the most demanding client requirements.

Previously a warehouse, then a photo-processing lab, the current South San Francisco Conference Centre building eventually became an empty eyesore at one of the major entryways to the city. In 1993 it was repurposed as a gleaming conference facility, demonstrating an exceptional commitment to environmental sustainability. In November 2011, the South San Francisco Conference Centre became the first business in the region to earn the Bay Area Green Business Certification, and in 2015 was awarded gold LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.

Room for growth
In recent years, the South San Francisco area has grown to become a hub for biotechnology. The city’s central location provides several advantages for companies and individuals looking to improve their green credentials – for example, access to Stanford University, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, as well as being in close proximity to a sophisticated selection of Bay Area venture capitalists.

Three decades ago, industry leader Genentech began operating in South San Francisco with four employees and 2,000sq ft of office space, signalling the start of the city’s reputation as a centre for biotechnology innovation. Today, South San Francisco boasts nearly 15 research and development campuses and over 8.5 million sq ft of laboratory, office and manufacturing space – numbers that even to this day continue to grow.

The city has approved an additional three million sq ft of life science-related development, which will be built and completed in the next 10 years, with yet more room to grow in the following years. With a stellar track record in helping companies to move from their initial trial-and-error phase to a more focused long-term approach, the city prides itself on welcoming and nourishing start-ups.

Furthermore, the city has invested more than $250m in public works projects that will improve the business climate and quality of life for all residents in South San Francisco. Most recent projects include a new water quality control plant, a newly constructed overpass and flyover at Oyster Point, improvements to the city’s sewerage system, and an extension to the BART transit system to San Francisco International Airport that will help to link visitors and commuters with the larger area’s highly skilled workforce.

With more than 62,000 people employed across various companies, industries and academia, South San Francisco is one of North America’s unparalleled intellectual capitals. At present, over 14,000 people work for more than 100 companies within the bioscience industry alone: according to the California Healthcare Institute, the Bay Area contains the highest concentration of biotech employees in the state.

Diverse culture
San Francisco is known for its cultural offerings. With the South San Francisco Conference Centre located only 15 minutes away from the city’s thriving centre, there are plenty of things to see and do in between meetings: world-class shopping facilities, sports, arts, botanical gardens and multicultural neighbourhoods are just a few of the attractions on offer from the city that is known internationally for its inclusivity, diversity and culture.

Additionally, the city’s outstanding culinary offerings are not to be missed. Wide-ranging and catering for all tastes and cultures, the city’s reputation for providing excellent food precedes it. The South San Francisco Conference Centre’s awareness of this citywide status has resulted in a keen interest in providing only the finest catering facilities for visitors: all food is prepared onsite and is made with the freshest ingredients across a selection of high-quality, organic dishes. Conference planners prepare individual menus for each event, including refreshments during breaks and hors d’oeuvres for more casual occasions.

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