Plans for a hotel and the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center gained momentum today as the Board of Port Commissioners approved crucial steps to move the project forward.
A resolution was approved granting the San Diego Convention Center Corporation permission to acquire Fifth Avenue Landing's leasehold that is needed to pursue entitlements for the Center's expansion. The Board approved a resolution consenting to a $12.5 million Deed of Trust secured by the leasehold interest. The Convention Center will pay Fifth Avenue Landing $1 million at the close of escrow and make annual payments of $500,000 for up to five years. Additionally, the Board granted an amended lease to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation that is good through June 30, 2024.
An ordinance granting a new 20-year lease to Fifth Avenue Landing for a proposed water transportation center and land improvements was also approved.
Collectively, these actions will provide a framework for the Convention Center to work with the Port to design and entitle the expansion project, including its environmental review.
"I'm incredibly pleased by the Port Commissioners' vote today, as should all San Diegans be," said Jerry Sanders, Mayor of San Diego. "The approval of the land agreement marks a critical step forward in the effort to make one of San Diego's more reliable economic engines – our Convention Center – an even more powerful driver of our economy."
Mayor Sanders joined Carol Wallace, President & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and Convention Center Board members at the Port meeting.
"This expansion will create 7,000 new full-time jobs," said Bob Nelson, Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Board of Directors. "We will work collaboratively with the Port and the City on this project. The partnership between these three entities is something we should all be proud of."
Port Commissioner Stephen P. Cushman, who serves on the Mayor's Citizen Task Force on the San Diego Convention Center project stressed that today's Board action was just one big step in a chain of steps to move the project along, but that once it is completed, San Diego would reap the economic benefits.
"There are about a hundred large conventions that we could bid on once the expansion is completed," he said. "If we just got three or four of those conventions, we'd be able to pay for the project."
Research data presented to the Mayor's Citizen Task Force demonstrated that the expansion is expected to generate $698 million of economic activity annually in addition to the $1.3 billion a year the Convention Center already generates.
The expansion would add 207,000 square feet of exhibit space, 100,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 80,000 square feet of multi-purpose ballrooms and 40,000 square feet of retail space. The proposed hotel project would include 250-500 rooms, approximately 50,000 square feet of ballroom/meeting space and about 248 parking spaces.