Photos by Asia Morris.
Setting the underwater mood with lights, plants and structures meant to look like a coral reef, the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrated Thursday evening the expansion of the Long Beach Convention Center’s indoor/outdoor mezzanine known as The Cove.
City officials and local leaders made an appearance at the lavish event, which drew hundreds of guests and featured an assortment of food trucks, dessert stations, game tables and seating areas no doubt meant to show off the potential of The Cove—which CVB President Steve Goodling announced yesterday has recently been reserved.
“We just booked a Silicon Valley company—6,000 rooms [booked] next May,” Goodling told the crowd. “They came here yesterday morning, they saw this space, they saw the Pacific Ballroom, they didn’t want to be in a traditional meeting space. By the end of the day they booked their convention in Long Beach for next May.”
The Cove was created as part of the convention center’s $50 million investment in renovations and ongoing improvements “aimed at creating event spaces that maximize the ability for meeting planners to customize their events while providing turnkey solutions that dramatically reduce costs,” according to the center’s website.
Convention center officials incorporated design technique adopted from TED, a conference held at the center for five years. It is located in front of the Seaside Meeting Rooms below the Terrace Theatre where six crystal chandeliers hang from the concrete ceiling over the entryway and concrete pillars, walls and ceiling are decorated with light fixtures designed to look like barnacles.
“Long Beach has been called a trail blazer and these spaces show the type of activation that we’re offering for our clients and is resonating within the industry,” Goodling said.
The event also served as a celebration for the creation of the Rainbow Bridge (a pedestrian bridge that will pay homage to the Port of Long Beach’s old Rainbow Pier), scheduled to open next month and feature LED lights glowing in rainbow colors along the walkway.
That bridge will also serve as a connector between the convention center and the future Sonata Modern Flats—a development that will feature 112 apartments, rooftop sky lounge with club and plunge pool, ground floor cafe and retail spaces fronting an elevated park and a fitness center. Officials celebrated the groundbreaking for that project as well.
Adding to the joyous occasion, city leaders also recognized organizers and artists involved with this week’s Pow Wow! Long Beach, an annual event which brings artists from all over the world to create murals across the city. The event was set in between three murals painted during past Pow! Wow! Festivals by artists Defer, Jeff Soto and the Low Bros.