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San Diego Convention Center Board Of Directors Chairwoman Supports Contiguous Expansion

The chairwoman of the San Diego Convention Center Board of Directors remains committed to an expansion plan that keeps the facility's floor space together, she said Wednesday.

Rabbi Laurie Coskey, in reacting to the Chargers' proposed downtown stadium and convention center project, referred to a consultant's report that concluded a contiguous expansion was the best way forward for the facility.

"A study by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International released in August 2015 determined that a contiguous expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is preferred by our clients and stakeholders while also providing the greatest return on investment for the city of San Diego," Coskey said.

"We will continue to support a contiguous expansion that will provide the greatest financial and economic value for the city of San Diego," she said.

The Chargers on Tuesday announced they would pursue a downtown multi-use stadium project in conjunction with an expansion of the center, rejecting a proposal by city and county officials to locate a new playing facility in Mission Valley.

The form in which the convention center expansion would take has been at issue for several years.

Tourism officials said if they can keep all the floor space together, they'd be able to keep Comic-Con International in San Diego, as well as attract the largest trade shows that currently bypass San Diego.

Project opponents, however, contend that a larger building will "wall- off" public access to that area of the waterfront. Former Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyer Cory Briggs have proposed a ballot measure that would lead to a convention center annex down the street.

Chargers stadium consultant Fred Maas told KPBS Midday Edition that team executives envision a project that will accommodate "much more things than 10 days of football a year" and enliven the east side of downtown.

Team officials plan to push for a ballot measure for the November general election.

"My hope has always been — before I worked for the Chargers and when I worked for the city — we'd be a big enough city to do a contiguous convention space, a non-contiguous and a football stadium downtown," Maas said. "I think we ought to keep our eyes open about what the possibilities are."

The Chargers returned their sights to San Diego last month after National Football League owners rejected their bid to build a stadium in Los Angeles County jointly with the Oakland Raiders. The NFL gave the Chargers until next January to work things out at their home of 55 years, or take the option to become the second team at a future facility in Inglewood, along with the Rams.

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