Expansion efforts for San Diego’s convention center have been stop-and-go for years, although plans are closer to finalizing now that Comic-Con organizers say an expansion is necessary to keep the massive event in the city past 2018. Much of the debate has centered on where the convention center should expand, although a recent financial analysis has endorsed a waterfront expansion.
The $90,000 study analyzed the financial report on an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and found that additional space, regardless of where it is, will provide an economic return for the city. The study concluded that a larger convention center at its current location on the bay along the fringe of the Gaslamp Quarter will provide a greater return than a facility several blocks to the northeast.
According to the study, prepared by Convention Sports & Leisure International, expanding the convention center with a stand-alone facility on Tailgate Park will bring more business to the city and increase the amount convention attendees spend on local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses by more than $61 million, although a waterfront expansion will bring 2.5 times more money to San Diego.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the report is promising enough that he will increase efforts for a bayfront expansion. The mayor hopes to put a hotel tax increase on the ballot as early as 2016 to finance the project. A two-thirds majority vote will be necessary to approve the measure.
An earlier expansion of the convention center fell through in 2014 after a judge ruled the tax to refinance the deal that was approved by hoteliers but not the general public was illegal. Attorney Cory Briggs has promised to continue challenging the measure if the city tries to develop the public waterfront.
City convention center officials have argued for years that, while San Diego is one of the biggest destinations for meeting planners, the city is in danger of losing its most lucrative events due to a lack of space. One of San Diego’s biggest gatherings is Comic-Con, which outgrew the convention center years ago but has committed to staying in the city through 2018. Unless the convention center is expanded, San Diego may lose Comic-Con and other major financial events in just a few short years.
Briggs argues that the convention center should not be expanded onto the public waterfront, as the space is for public use, not conventions. While the waterfront expansion may not go through, it’s likely the San Diego convention center will get more space in the next couple of years, whether the square footage is added to the existing location or several blocks away nearer to East Village Downtown San Diego.
As a trusted and experienced real estate company in Downtown San Diego, we’re often asked about the impact an expansion could have on property value in the future—especially by people currently shopping Downtown San Diego condos for sale. While there are a lot of factors to consider and no one-size-fits all answer, we’re happy to have an open and honest discussion. Reach out today. We look forward to helping you find your next place! ')}