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Interim Mayor Gloria Defends Convention Center Expansion

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Interim Mayor Todd Gloria today reiterated his support for the current plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center, despite a new pitch by the Chargers to include a football stadium in the project.

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The waterfront 760,000-square-foot San Diego Convention Center opened in 1989 and cost $165 million.

The $520 million plan, which goes before the California Coastal Commission for its final approval next month, would create a total area of 2.75 million square feet -- the most contiguous floor space on the West Coast.

Supporters of the project, including Gloria, say San Diego is missing out on an estimated 25 major gatherings per year because it needs more connected space.

The alternative filed with the Coastal Commission by the Chargers would not include contiguous floor space, which team officials do not believe to be necessary.

"The current plan...is the product of years of study, analysis and public debate,'' Gloria said at a news conference. "It is the end-result of countless hours of thought and consideration.''

He said the plan is critical to keeping Comic-Con International, the largest annual trade show in San Diego.

The Chargers have been pursuing a new facility for a decade to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, but have been unable to come up with a workable site.

The quest was delayed for years by the city's poor financial condition and the recession.

The Chargers point man on stadium issues, Mark Fabiani, said on the team's website that the city would save hundreds of millions of dollars on a joint facility that would result in an expanded convention center and new stadium.

Gloria said his goal was to get the convention center expansion past its final regulatory hurdles before turning his attention to the stadium issue.

He said both projects can be pursued and that he is committed to keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

"I want to be clear, the Chargers are an important part of our community -- professional sports is a hallmark of a great city -- we are a great city,'' Gloria said.

"I want to work with the Chargers to keep them here, but I want to do it in a way that is as thoughtful a process that we went through with the convention center expansion, and one that can allow me to go to the people in the city to explain what we're getting with that investment,'' he said.

He said he met with Fabiani in March, but the team's plan was conceptual at that point.

Comments

Avatar for user 'micdavis42'

micdavis42 | September 6, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

How about we fix up the schools first? Sports is only important for the city so the businessmen involved can make even higher profits than they already do. They say that they want to eliminate bullying in schools. But the jocks are still given too much importance, even in the "real" world. When education becomes more important than sports things will change, until then don't expect any.

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Avatar for user 'LaMesa_dude'

LaMesa_dude | September 7, 2013 at 8:34 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Now that Filner has been evicted we can get back to the real business at hand -- namely who'll get these lucrative contracts and subsidizing billionaires for an unneeded stadium. (Shaking my head in disbelief...)

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 7, 2013 at 9:47 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

micdavis42 - and LaMesa_dude--

You really need to read the article before talking about re-channeling monies to interests that matter to you and view the forest for the trees here. This article is not about building a new stadium. It is about Todd Gloria standing firm and not caving to Charger spokesperson Mark Fabiani's pressure to have him disapprove and nix the expansion of the Convention Center. Todd Gloria's reasoning is sound. Any decision about a new stadium will have to be made by the new mayor in 2014. He is getting the city's ducks in a row and ensuring alternative options are available and on the table for the new mayor which is the best interest of the city. This is smart planning. If Chargers stadium is not met with consensus in 2014, then expansion of the Convention Center all regulatory hurdles have been addressed and no time is lost and money is saved.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 7, 2013 at 12:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

The Chargers have been looking for ways to scam the city into giving them a handout to build their new stadium on the cheap for years.

Now the predator parasite Fabiani wants to wants to attach himself to our convention center to push his greed through.

His plan would be all about his interests, not the real convention center needs.

We see the proof of this in the Charger's plan NOT including contiguous floor space, which is crucial.

Also, the current plan is close to coming o fruition, and ComicCon will not wait longer.

I consider ComicCon, an international pop culture iconic event, to be far more important for our city than a mediocre football team nobody outside of San Diego even cares about.

I hope Gloria and whomever the new mayor will be will stand strong against the scamming, lying, cheating Fabiani and not allow this greedy hack to muck around with our convention center.

Proceed with the current convention plans.

The chargers can either pay for a stadium-only project THEMSELVES, or get the hell out if our city.

This idea of looking for a proxy, back-door way to use public funds to build their new stadium is a vile, repulsive tactic by a D-rated sports team.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 9, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Peking-

The Chargers may very well be looking for a handout to build their new stadium on the cheap. It is apparent they have a pitbull as a negotiator in Fabiani.

The job of our elected representatives is to master the art of negotiation on behalf and in the best interests of ALL of the citizens' of San Diego including interest that relate to the convention center contiguous floor space requirement.

Comparing ComicCon to Chargers is an exercise in futility. They both have positive and negative considerations. Because you might prefer, i don't know, for example, synchronized swimming over watching Monday night football does not mean that a majority of citizens agree with your assessment of what needs to happen with the Chargers. In fact, I would argue a majority would like to see the Chargers remain in San Diego.

Obviously Todd Gloria, as i stated above, is making the wise choice by proceeding with the current convention plans. I heard him state that his father is huge Chargers fan and would like to see them remain in town. Those traits of open mindedness and clarity of thought are what we need in our leaders. Leaders who see opportunity in the negotiation of the deal while citizens voice strong arguments on both sides. Representatives in 2014 will need to work with the pit bull and negotiate a mutually beneficial deal that meets all convention center, all cost and all other of the city's requirements on the table.

To say 'get the hell out if our city' is completely short-sited and presupposes all stadium projects are failed losing projects. That's simply not true. Cities across the country have leveraged investment in sports arenas and stadiums to reinvigorate entire urban districts. Integrating sports venues into the urban fabric has the ability to transform them from sporadic activity generators into economic redevelopment engines that provide a far more beneficial and wide-ranging economic impact on a daily basis if done wisely. Successful examples include LoDo and Coors Field in Denver, and of course PETCO Park in San Diego, Penn Quarter/Chinatown and the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Bring on the art of the negotiation!

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | September 9, 2013 at 4:17 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

The Coastal Commission should hold off reviewing the current convention center expansion until after San Diego voters elect a new city mayor. The expansion proposal will be widely debated in the upcoming mayoral campaign and voters may not elect someone who supports the current proposal. Instead the may elect a new mayor who wants to see whether the convention center's desire for more meeting space can be addressed alongside a new downtown sports stadium/convention center campus in one lower cost alternative that does not further block off downtown San Diego from its bay front with a giant concrete wall.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 9, 2013 at 8:06 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Holy Cow DonWood. I can hardly believe myself. I agree with you again.

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