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What’s Next For San Diego’s Convention Center?

Evening Edition

Aired 8/28/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

What's Next For San Diego's Convention Center?

GUESTS

Steven Johnson, spokesman, San Diego Convention Center

David Alvarez, San Diego City Councilman

After years of debate, legal questions and millions of dollars in preparation, the approved plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center ended with a San Diego City Council vote this week. The expansion's creative financing plan, overturned by state court, proved to be its downfall. Seven City Council members voted not to pursue an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

So will San Diego be satisfied to keep its current Convention Center as is or will we embark on another round of expansion proposals?

Several ideas for a joint stadium-convention center project have been recently unveiled, including one by Petco Park developers, JMI Realty and another by former state legislator Steve Peace.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said this week all options are on the table.

Although City Councilman David Alvarez voted not to pursue an appeal, he told KPBS Midday Edition that a larger convention center would be beneficial for the community and he intends to keep working toward a new plan.

“I want to make sure we get started on this as soon as possible. As a San Diegan it’s been too long where we haven’t expanded in the way that we had to, invested in our infrastructure, actually answered the question of: Are the Chargers going to find a place here? We’ve got to do that and we have to start and do that now,” Alvarez said.

San Diego Convention Center spokesman Steven Johnson said he wants to see the Convention Center expand as well but thinks City Council made the right call.

“I think that the decision by the appeals court was very strong and I think the City Council made the appropriate decision,” Johnson said, adding his clients who rent the out the convention center are demanding a larger, contiguous space.

“Some of the clients that are currently outgrowing our facility are not going to come back into San Diego’s rotation if they do not have space,” he said.

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