San Diego city council okays convention center expansion

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convention park r620x3491 San Diego city council okays convention center expansion
Oh yeah! Your feet are going to hurt even more if the San Diego City Council has its way. The controversial plan to expand the convention center was okayed by the city council, 6 to 2. Although everyone agrees that a bigger convention center would allow even more lucrative convention business every year — and room for an additional 3,000 Slave Leias at Comic-Con — what is still in dispute is who will pay. The present plan calls for hotels with more than 30 rooms to fund the bond over a period of several years. Of course, these costs will probably be passed along to guests.

The bottom line payoff, boosters say, will run into the billions of dollars over the life of the bonds, along with 4,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent new jobs.

“If we had more space, we could go after some of the nation’s largest conventions,” Mayor Jerry Sanders told the Council at the start of a two-hour hearing on one of his top-priority projects for his final year in office. “Right now we just don’t have enough room to accommodate them.”

Also in dispute: which hotels will pay more. The closer hotels are to the throbbing center of free Terra Nova tote bag distribution, the more they will pay — but hotels on Coronado won’t pay anything. And there’s also a dissident faction which believes a new Chargers stadium downtown would be more felicitous for the future of the city. So– some things to be worked out.

Despite the squabbling, everyone agrees that a bigger convention center is a necessity to keep Comic-Con in San Diego. The plan calls for more than 100,000 additional square feet of meeting space and 80,000 square feet of ballroom space, a rooftop park and more parking.

Of course, given the way these kinds of things move, the expansion will be ready just in time for the big Mansquito reunion panel in 2020.

For more information and science fictional artists rendering of the expansion, here’s the entire proposal.convention park r620x349 San Diego city council okays convention center expansion

Comments

  1. looks pretty cool and unifies the look of the convention center a bit better than it is today. Also looks like a new hilton tower will be directly connected to the expansion.

    I’ve never stayed on Coronado, but thought about it. Water taxi runs straight to the con, but doesn’t run late enough. Maybe if hotel fees go up to cover the cost, then Coronado would be a good option. My guess is the Del would raise their rates anyway just to match local going rate and then just get the benefit of more cash.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    The expansion is expected to generate $698 million of economic activity each year. Construction starts in Mid 2013, ends Mid 2016.

    The city pays off the Phase 2 loan (the last expansion) in 2014.

    The Center wants to enlarge the proposed hotel, which would require a new Environmental Impact Report, as well as amendments to the Port Master Plan, which would have to be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

    The Convention Center 40-year lease expires in June 2024.

    The lease on the expansion area (including the hotel) is good for sixty-six years. Rent on the new parcels (south of Convention Way, minus the Fifth Avenue Landing Water Transportation Center (minimum $114K rent)) is a minimum $376,000 a year until 2020 (greater if certain sales are factored). The millionaire’s yacht marina will remain, but most of the Embarcadero land will be used for the expansion.

  3. I’m just afraid that even after the expansion is done tickets will sell out within 24 hours.

  4. @jamie: definitely for the foreseeable future unless they raise it to $250-$300 for 4 day with preview night or geek culture jumps the shark. (how meta is that??).

  5. ikaras says:

    Its surprising that an expansion just yields space for 3000 more people.

  6. @ikaras — that’s 3000 *slave leias*. I would think they could boost total tickets by 20% or more with this expansion if they wanted.

  7. Ikaras: The “3000” number was a joke — the number of new people that the expansion would hold hasn’t been announced.

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