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.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.