Crucial Vote Coming Up On San Diego Convention Center Expansion Plan
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Aired 10/9/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Cory Briggs, Attorney representing Navy Broadway Complex Coalition and San Diegans for Open Government.
Steven Johnson, Vice President of Public Affairs, San Diego Convention Center Corp.
Aired 10/10/13 on KPBS News.
Peggy Pico interviews Cory Briggs and Steven Johnson for a closer look at the San Diego Convention Center expansion plan.
The plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center faces a crucial vote Thursday; The California Coastal Commission will decide if the plan moves forward toward a projected construction start date next year.
However, just last week, we learned that the Coastal Commission staff recommended against the $520 million expansion plan because it may limit access to the San Diego Bay.
Now environmental attorney Cory Briggs, who is representing two San Diego civic organizations, said the price tag for the center will be higher than the $520 million figure usually given for the project.
But Interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said an expanded convention center will bring much-needed tourism dollars to the city.
"This will give us the largest exhibit space on the West Coast and provide San Diegans with a five-acre roof top park with spectacular views of the bay and ocean, all for free, all year round."
However, Briggs said the $520 million price tag is misleading, and warned San Diego taxpayers may be obligated to pay a higher yearly fee for the expansion than anticipated out of the city's general fund.
"It doesn't include the $13.5 million to buy the parking lot where the expansion will take place, it doesn't include about $40 million for 82,000 square feet of expansion that was left off of the bid documents of the contractor," Briggs said. "And it's got about another 18,000 square feet of retail space that wasn't included in that as well, so using the city's own price figures, it comes to about $63.5 million."
Coastal Commission approval is the final regulatory hurdle for the project. Legal challenges, however, have been filed over payment of construction costs.