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Down Payment To Acquire Land For Convention Center Expansion Could Be Authorized Soon

The San Diego Convention Center is seen in the background in this photo taken...

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: The San Diego Convention Center is seen in the background in this photo taken March 4, 2018.

After renegotiating terms three times, the city of San Diego, Port of San Diego and Fifth Avenue Landing could soon exchange money as part of an effort to expand the convention center.

The Board of Port Commissioners will vote Thursday whether or not to authorize a $5 million down payment to Fifth Avenue Landing for a leasehold to expand the convention center.

Yes For A Better San Diego is a citizens initiative that would pay for a convention center expansion. It has already qualified for the 2020 ballot — but San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is thinking about calling for a special election next year.

"We should not wait two years for this," Faulconer said Wednesday. "The opportunity we have to have an election as soon as possible is something that I’m going to strongly support."

RELATED: San Diego Convention Center Expansion Deal That Was At Risk Now ‘Moving Forward’

The citizens initiative also includes money to help people who are homeless and road repairs.

If Faulconer were to ask for a special election he would need city council approval. Last year the council voted not to fund a special election — and members have recently said they are unsure if they would support another.

The $5 million down payment is nonrefundable. Meaning if the citizens initiative fails when it goes to voters, the city of San Diego would have to reimburse the port the $5 million. If it passes, then under the deal's original terms the city would pay an additional $28 million for the leasehold controlled currently by Fifth Avenue Landing.

The Port of San Diego will vote Thursday to authorize a $5 million payment on behalf of the city of San Diego to acquire land that could be used for a convention center expansion.


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