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San Diego’s Deal To Secure Land For Convention Center Expansion Still Alive, $5 Million Payment Delayed

Coalition of business, tourism, and homeless leaders gather to announce plan ...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: Coalition of business, tourism, and homeless leaders gather to announce plan for a citizens initiative to expand San Diego's downtown convention center, Jan. 8, 2018.

San Diego's Deal To Secure Land For Convention Center Expansion Still Alive, $5 Million Payment Delayed

GUEST:

Matt Hoffman, reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

Under terms of a deal signed in June, Monday was the last day for the city of San Diego to transfer $5 million to secure land near the existing convention center. The plan calls for the city to send the money to the Port of San Diego, who would then give it to land leasehold owner Fifth Avenue Landing, or FAL.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office announced Monday all parties have agreed to push the deadline to Sept. 25.

REALTED: Mayor Faulconer Weighs Options For Future San Diego Convention Center Expansion

The city of San Diego is waiting to see if a citizens initiative that failed to qualify for this November’s ballot will qualify for a future ballot. YES For a Better San Diego promised to raise the hotel tax to raise money for a convention center expansion, homeless aid and road repairs. That initiative is currently undergoing a signature review process.

Faulconer said he is glad the land deal is still in place.

"Why? Because this project is so important," Faulconer said. "To modernize and expand our convention center — the 7,000 jobs that it entails. To have a dedicated funding source for homelessness and street repairs. That’s why I was so pleased to see not only FAL and the port but they did the right thing. This issue is not going away, it’s too important to San Diegans."

Signature verification for the citizens initiative is expected to be finished by Sept. 20, which is when it will be determined if it qualifies for the 2020 ballot. Faulconer has said it would be possible to call a special election for the initiative next year, but that would require council approval.

RELATED: Fallout From Failed Convention Center Expansion Measure Could Cost San Diego Millions

The original deal signed in June stipulated if a citizens initiative did not pass in November 2018, the city would lose the down payment to FAL.

On Monday, the city of San Diego announced the $5 million down payment deadline to secure the land would be pushed back to September.

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