In five years we’ll be sunning ourselves outside on the San Diego convention center roof park while we complain about douchebags.
Plans were unveiled today for the planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. Denver-based architect Curt Fentress won a design competition for the upgrade, with a plan that includes an additional 780,000 sq. ft of meeting, exhibit and ballroom space. Budgeted at $710 million, the expansion is a key element in keeping Comic-Con International in San Diego beyond the 2015 date currently contracted — the expansion could possibly open in time for the 2015 Con.
A story on the local NPR outlet includes amazing artists’ renderings that we have reproduced below. There is also a video which we can’t embed. The plan includes a five-acre rooftop plaza, truck tunnel and — get this — a 500 room hotel ATOP THE CONVENTION CENTER. Talk about sweet!!
Mayor Jerry Sanders is thrilled with the design.
“The team’s design, which we’re unveiling today for the first time, builds on the success of our iconic facility,” he said, “It embraces the water front location with a five acre park and rooftop performance venue, while delivering an expanded facility that will help generate jobs and build on our reputation as a world class convention and meeting destination.”
Sanders said the extra tax revenues would help pay for police and fire services. He has given Port Commissioner Steve Cushman the task of putting together a financing plan to pay for the expansion without using public money. Cushman says he is working on it.
Oh yeah, he is.
The San Diego Union Tribune also weighs in with charts and graphs:
Overall size: Currently 2.6 million square feet, adding 780,000 square feet
Exhibit space: Currently 525,701 square feet, adding 225,000 square feet
Meeting space: Currently 205,114 square feet, adding 101,000 square feet
Ballrooms: Currently 80,000 square feet in two ballrooms, adding one new ballroom at 80,000 square feet
Cost: $710 million, plus $42 million pedestrian bridge original estimate; revised cost yet to be determined but could be 10 percent or more cheaper since the expansion is 35 percent less than planned. $53 million in annual bond costs under the original cost analysis, probably less depending on overall expense.
Revenue sources under consideration: Downtown business assessments; parking, taxi and rental car surcharges; downtown property taxes.
Project manager Charles Black, who also was involved in the Petco Park development with the San Diego Padres in the last decade, said one benefit of the expansion will be the replacement of the dreary waterfront access road on Convention Way with landscaping and truck-free access to the bay. He called the present conditions hardly more than “paving, parking and trucks.”
He also said about 30,000 square feet of retail space will face the waterfront and ought to give visitors additional reasons to visit the little-used South Embarcadero, hidden as it is by the convention center and hotels.
Before you start speed dialing that new hotel, note…this is all just preliminary. Awesome architectural plans have a way of changing.
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.