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April 29, 2013
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Delays on Convention Center Expansion May Cost San Diego Business




While San Diego waits to complete the expansion of its Convention Center, the city may be losing significant business from conferences and conventions, local sources indicate. 

The Southwest Riverside News Network is reporting that major conferences are booking elsewhere because of uncertainty over when the planned expansion of the convention center will be completed. In a presentation to the City Council’s Rules Committee, San Diego Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi, Convention Center Chairman Phil Blair and center CEO Carol Wallace said the California Coastal Commission, the final regulatory hurdle for the expansion, probably won’t consider the project until October — seven months later than expected.

The Coastal Commission originally was expected to consider the convention center expansion last month, but Wallace said commission staff asked "a long series of questions," which pushed the issue back, and also asked expansion planners to make adjustments to improve view corridors and pedestrian access to the water.

Two organizations that bring a good number of people to their conventions, the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society and the Society of Human Resources Management, have backed out of plans to come to San Diego, Terzi said, and Comic-Con International, the San Diego-bred powerhouse of pop culture trade shows, has been courted by competing cities and is only committed here through 2016.

Backers of the $520 million project say that San Diego could attract 25 additional large conventions per year when the expansion is complete, and that the venue will have the largest amount of contiguous space on the West Coast.

Back in March, UT San Diego reported that a proposed hotel room tax to finance the planned expansion of the convention center was ruled legal by a Superior Court judge, but noted that appeals would be likely, which would cause lengthy project delays. Under the ruling, San Diego hotels will be able to charge an additional 1 to 3 percent fee depending on how close they are to downtown, with those closer to the Convention Center charging more. 

 


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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox


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