Spectra takes over Santa Clara Convention Center

By Robert Haugh

Spectra officially took over operations of the Santa Clara Convention Center on Monday, March 18.

They’re one of the top convention center operators in the nation and partially owned by Comcast. They were selected through a competitive RFP process.

“We are thrilled to have Spectra, a highly respected venue management leader, manage and operate one of our city’s best assets,” said Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor in a press release. “Spectra has distinguished itself as an operator that is aligned to the City’s mission and understands the significant potential and unmatched offerings in Santa Clara. Spectra’s innovative approach and mindset uniquely suits this partnership in the Center of What’s Possible.”

Here’s a map of their 45 convention centers. Santa Clara is the only one in California.

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce lost the management of the building and operations in September 2018 when audits revealed mismanagement and malfeasance.

New General Manager

Spectra named industry veteran Kelly Carr as the Santa Clara Convention Center’s new general manager. He replaces Lisa Moreno who has not been offered another position according to City Hall sources.

Carr is a California native with deep background managing venues across the country. According to the press release: “Previously, he served as general manager and in other leadership roles for major event facilities in Reno, Fresno, Albuquerque and Syracuse. He also has experience in sales, marketing and broadcast, having previously hosted a talk show on ESPN Radio/Fox Sports Radio-Fresno.”

“I’m excited to be back home in California and honored to be at the helm of the Santa Clara Convention Center,” said Carr. “We will be laser-focused on working with our partners in the building and the community, focusing on transparency for the city and innovation for our clients, and preparing the facility for the region’s evolution. We also look forward to bringing community events to the convention center.”

Spectra is committing $2 million in capital improvements amortized over 15 years, with $1.15 million in upgrades such as new paint, carpet and other improvements in the first year of operations.

Spectra will also work with the City and the Tourism Improvement District to create a new Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote the City and the convention center.

One comment

  1. Hi Robert, what is the back story with Lisa Moreno? Before jumping to conclusions. I was hopeful she would continue under new management. Her choice?

Leave a Reply