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April 19, 2019

Vote on San Diego Convention Center Expansion Planned for March

A citizens’ initiative backed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and tourism officials to modernize and enlarge San Diego’s bayfront convention center will go before voters in March 2020 following a vote by the city council earlier this week.

Under the initiative, voters will be asked to approve a hotel transient occupancy tax increase that would fund the modernization and expansion of the convention center, as well as provide billions of dollars for homeless programs and road repairs across the city.

Last year, the convention center hosted 133 events, which attracted 785,460 attendees and generated an economic impact of $1.1 billion, officials said.

The expansion plan, which has secured unanimous California Coastal Commission approval, would add more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting and ballroom space and include a five-acre rooftop park.

Under the proposal, the city’s transient occupancy tax paid by hotel guests would increase from 12.5 percent to no more than 15.75 percent depending on a hotel’s proximity to the convention center.

Backers of the initiative collected more than 114,000 signatures last year to qualify the measure for a public vote.

This week’s city council action was the approval of a resolution in favor of presenting the citizens’ initiative to voters in March 2020 instead of November 2020. The council will vote again at a later date to formally place the measure on the ballot.

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