…or at least that’s what our cabbie told us. On the ride to the airport, this 25-year vet of San Diego confided that the mayor was going to build a brand new convention center and hotel complex with an airport in Chula Vista (just south of SD) to host the convention. This canny fellow — who would only tell us he hailed from a “former Communist bloc country” — also allowed as how San Diego is the richest city in the US and the fifth largest overall, so you may take this information as “unconfirmed,” but if it comes true….you know where you heard it!

Waitaminnit, turns out there actually was talk of a new Chula Vista convention center but it wasn’t nearly big enough:

Nashville, Tenn.-based Gaylord Entertainment, the owner and operator of the Grand Ole Opry, its affiliated hotel and other hotels, entered into an exclusive developer agreement with the port and Chula Vista last year to build a 2,000-room hotel and 400,000-square-foot convention center on 33 acres of bay front the city has been trying to develop for decades.

All this talk of moving is tedious, but something has to give, says David Glanzer:

We haven’t seen any movement on an expansion, and that has us very concerned. If nothing happens, as in a groundbreaking or some other solid movement, by 2010, we’re going to have to explore options. If our attendees and exhibitors don’t want us to leave San Diego and are happy with limited attendance, limited exhibitors, things of that nature, then I imagine we’ll stay here. But if they’re not, then I think we’ll entertain some of the offers we’re being given.

We asked the cabbie about the city vs. the con, but he said it is a very busy time, and “It seems, now, that everyone is knowing that San Diego means Comic-Con.”


  1. Why does the venue have to get bigger? Why can’t the con get smaller? Like 1994 small. That would be nice. Better yet, put the comics part in some empty mall across town and leave the convention center to Hollywood.

  2. Heh… reminds me of an old silent Bob Clarke comic from MAD Magazine…

    A little old Grandma starts baking pies and selling them out of her home… Then she converts her home into a store, than a chain, and then a big, freaking factory. Last panel, next door to the factory, is a little old lady selling homemade pies out of her home…

    So… Big Comic-Con gets the convention center, and next door at the Embassy is a nice little old comic-con…

    San Diego is eighth in population, according to 2005 Census Bureau estimates.

    If the Con moves to Chula Vista, will the Mayor of San Diego require the Con to remove “San Diego” from publicity, in much the same way that the Mayor of San Francisco is threatening the San Francisco 49ers?

    Lots of empty waterfront space there by the Naval Radio Station… and more space can be gained from landfill. Easy access from the Interstate, there’s a rail line nearby… but the airport there is not conducive to commercial traffic. Water ferries could run from Chula Vista to Downtown San Diego.

  3. Hi,

    I left Monday morning in that same Top Gun white van from Horton Grand. We’ve had that driver for at least 10 years and he always has the correct buzz.
    He told of us of an international airport to be built in Chula Vista, a huge convention center, cluster of hotels, and an express trolley to the Gaslamp district ( 10 minute ride ) so the restaurants won’t get hurt.

    I think this is planned for completion by 2013.

    Love your column by the way.


    Sal Q

  4. [begin//disjointed rant]

    The fact is that something is wrong at Comic Con.

    Comic Con is a theme-park sized event squeezed into something 1/10th that size and timeframe. It’s wrong.

    When you wait 3 hrs. to get into a panel and you still can’t get in – something is wrong. Especially when you miss other panels just to stand in line.

    When the food in the convention center is of one variety (bland, expensive, unhealthy) then – something is wrong.

    When Hollywood spends a ton of money promoting their movies/ Tv and you still have to pay $16 for parking – something is wrong.

    When you have free wifi and cameras shooting the panels and you aren’t beaming the popular panels to people’s phones or laptops so they can see too – OR – even easier, set up an overflow room with a big screen —

    Then something is wrong.

    Comic Con needs to invite corporate sponsorship – Apple, etc… – to pay for this stuff. There were shuttle buses that didn’t have any ads on them – why?

    Many of the shuttles had speaker and video systems – why isn’t Comic Con charging studios to put up trailers and other promos welcoming everyone to Comic Con? Run down the schedule for the day on screen.

    Why aren’t local and national chains in the convention center in booths (like the Mrs. Fields, Starbucks, etc..) but selling things like Subway, McDonald’s, BK, Pizza Hut ?

    All of these companies work with Hollywood to promote their food and movies. Why not at Comic Comic? Why do I have to eat flash-frozen-then-reheated nachos, pizza, pretzels or cardboard sandwiches?

    And for those local restaurants – you guys are there for dinner and possibly breakfast. Let the convention take care of the lunch crowd. You can’t handle it. Some of us will come to you for lunch while we are on a break. We promise.

    I overheard a conversation between two smaller dealers on the floor and the jist of it was they were worried they were going to be squeezed out next year by bigger booths from the studios. Well, guys – here’s one way to make your wares fresh and exciting – change your booths! Don’t set up exactly the same every year. Put a fresh coat of paint on those displays. Change out those comic boxes that have come to comic con for four years running.

    SEMA – the automotive after market parts show held in Vegas every year – has tens of thousands more people attending and far more booths and displays and you NEVER hear of people complaining of the lines, crowds, layout, etc…

    Find out what they are doing better or different than you are and take the hint.

    Yes this is our Nerd Prom, Academy Awards, and Super Bowl rolled into one.

    It has to be better. If moving elsewhere is the right step to making it better then get packing.

    [disjointed rant//end]

  5. Why aren’t national chains in the San Diego Convention Center? ‘Cause their food service is in lock-down. I was working on a booth promotion for a show there last summer and I had the bright idea of serving In-n-Out Burgers out of a booth. Fortunately, before we got too far along, I remembered an old story about the convention center confiscating milk and cookies from Marvel and did a little checking up. Not only does the convention center ban all outside food, In-n-Out Burger doesn’t cater in the San Diego area. San Diego, it seems, it red tape central for that sort of thing. And the convention center definitely has food as a major revenue center.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, in and of itself. But it seems to add up a little bit. The food’s a bit better at McCormick Place in Chicago, but they went and did something about that when they started losing shows to Orlando and Vegas.

  6. “If the Con moves to Chula Vista, will the Mayor of San Diego require the Con to remove “San Diego” from publicity, in much the same way that the Mayor of San Francisco is threatening the San Francisco 49ers?”

    Should that ever happen, I imagine some accomodation could be made in naming the show, similar to how the baseball team became the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim,” or how the football Giants are still “New York” Giants, though they play in New Jersey.

    On the other hand, when this con changed it’s official name to “Comic-Con International: San Diego”, there was speculation that that wording would make it easier to move the show (branding-wise, at least) just by changing the city after the colon. So “Comic-Con International: Chula Vista” here we may come!

  7. Why does it have to keep getting bigger? At what point does it become a massive super-city of nerds that no one individual can ever hope to fully appreciate? It’s already become a Frustrating Festival of Things Unseen. I can understand and welcome more *space* but not increased attendance.

    At what point does it become an unmanageable security and safety risk? At what point is it simply no longer fun?

  8. With the San Diego Comic-Con selling all the memberships during the last couple of years means attendees are willing to work within the parameters set before them – however crowded, unhealthy and expensive it is.

    It’s still a whole lot of fun and I’ll continue to go each year.

  9. Ha! The woman at the United check-in counter at the San Diego airport told me with great confidence that the con was moving to Las Vegas. “I heard the con was locked in San Diego until 2012,” I sez. She said, after that, it’s moving to Vegas. I bet everyone in San Diego has a different story of what’s going to happen. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on their part.

  10. What? The only thing that has been proposed to be built out there is a new football stadium, with other businesses to go along side it of course. I have lived here all my life. The only airport things to crop up recently have been a floating runway, and moving some flights to south of the border. Rumours of different things smashed into one.

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