SAFE Credit Union Convention Center project marks major milestone with placement of final steel beam

The City of Sacramento recently celebrated a major milestone in its renovation and expansion of the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center.

Crews on May 5 installed the final steel beam at the convention center during an informal “topping out” ceremony.

“Prior to starting construction, we were talking about all the different project milestones and how we would celebrate each and every one of them,” said Fran Halbakken, project executive for the City, at a socially distanced ceremony. “For buildings like convention centers, it’s traditional to recognize things like reaching the highest points of construction or placing the last piece of steel, so here we are today with a reason to celebrate.”


Due to the current stay-at-home orders, what would typically be a momentous occasion with hundreds in attendance was kept small. Stakeholders attended the ceremony virtually.

“Despite the fact that we’re all socially distanced right now and apart because of COVID, I think that we long to be together,” said Councilmember Steve Hansen. “This building represents an opportunity for us to celebrate our community, to celebrate the city, and to look forward — not only to reopening — but our opportunity to come together again as one community.”

Progress continues to be made on the City’s $350 million C3 Project, which includes the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center and the Memorial Auditorium.

The Memorial Auditorium opened in May 2019. Improvements include new seating, new audio-visual equipment, a new stage floor, improved lighting and a new loading dock.

The convention center and performing arts center both are set to open in the winter.

The performing arts center will feature a new acoustic system, theatrical lighting improvements, accessibility improvements, an expanded existing lobby and a new South lobby, more restrooms, new concession areas, expanded dressing rooms and back-of-house space and an expanded loading dock.

The convention center will boast an expanded exhibit hall, a new ballroom and kitchen on the building’s west side, an outdoor plaza with a performance stage, a full-service Starbucks, two new lobbies, technology enhancements and floor to ceiling windows and accordion-style glass doors.

“Currently, we have more than 52 events booked in the (convention center) for 2021,” said Mike Testa with Visit Sacramento. “That equates to one event a week, and we’re not done.”

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