1. Is the San Diego Convention Center currently planning to expand?
Yes. The Mayor’s Citizen’s Task Force on the San Diego Convention Center Project
(MCTF) was created in January 2009 and asked its members to review: The state of the convention and meeting industry; San Diego’s success and profile among its competitive set; and to evaluate the market demand for an expanded facility. After seven months of studying the issues, numerous presentations and a series of public meetings, the MCTF recommended in late August 2009 that the City of San Diego should proceed with an expansion. (A full report of the findings and recommendations can be found at www.conventioncentertaskforce.org
2. What benefits does the Convention Center provide to San Diego residents and taxpayers?
Public investment in the Convention Center has turned out to be a very good decision for San Diego residents and taxpayers. Since opening the Convention Center has become one of the regions strongest economic engines generating over $21.6 billion in economic impact, $411.1 million in tax revenues and supporting 12,500 jobs throughout the region. The spending by overnight visitors who attend conventions significantly eases the tax burden on residents. Tax revenues help pay for police and fire protection to keep San Diegans safe; the upkeep of libraries and museums to enrich the lives of locals and visitors; and maintain our beautiful parks and beaches enjoyed by everyone. In addition, the Convention Center has been a catalyst for substantial growth and development helping to transform downtown into a vibrant hub that visitors and locals both enjoy.
3. If the building increases in size, will the economic benefits and jobs throughout the community increase as well?
Yes. According to research and data presented to the MCTF
, an expansion of the Convention Center is expected to generate:
- Increased economic impact of $698 million annually, in addition to the average $1.4 billion the Convention Center already provides our community;
- Increased tax revenue of $13.5 million annually, in addition to what the Convention Center already generates annually. In FY11 alone, events tied to the building generated $20.6 million in sales and hotel room tax revenues;
- More than 6,880 new, permanent jobs, in addition to the 12,500 jobs throughout San Diego County already supported by the Convention Center. This estimate of new, full time jobs does not include hundreds of temporary construction jobs.
4. Is there a market demand for an expanded Convention Center?
Absolutely. For the past several years market demand has surpassed the current supply of space the building offers. In fact, 39.7 percent of prospective customers that do not book the San Diego Convention Center attribute that decision to “Center Unavailable” or lack of space. As a result, San Diego loses approximately a year’s worth of business every year to competitor cities, or approximately $1 billion in economic impact.
5. What is the status of the expansion plan?
Based on the positive recommendation of the Mayor’s Task Force
to proceed, the San Diego Convention Center Corporation continues to move ahead in our efforts to expand. The Corporation secured six acres of bayfront land
adjacent to the current facility clearing the way for an expansion extending toward San Diego Bay. In addition, an architectural design team was selected to add on to San Diego’s signature waterfront building.
The Port of San Diego
and the Convention Center are conducting an environmental review and permitting process and are engaging the community and stakeholders. At the same time, the City of San Diego is exploring financing options.
6. What is the estimated opening date and timeline for the expansion?
The target date is early-2016. Inherently, major civic projects like an expansion have long-term planning horizons. But by receiving the approval of the MCTF, acquiring the land and selecting the architectural design team, we have taken the first critical first steps to realize our opening goal.
7. What is the proposed size of the San Diego Convention Center expansion in terms of exhibit space
and meeting space
Based on several studies, the San Diego Convention Center Corporation is recommending adding approximately 200,000-250,000 contiguous sf of exhibit space
; 100,000 sf of meeting space
; and an 80,000 sf ballroom
. This will allow us to accommodate larger existing business that has outgrown the building, or will soon be reaching capacity; new potential business; as well as to host simultaneous mid-size conventions. The chart below reflects the design team’s recommendation for the expansion, as well as approximate total square footage:
SQUARE FOOTAGE SUMMARY*
*Square footage estimates are based on proposed design concepts.
8. Where will the expansion be located?
The expansion will be built on the same footprint of land of the existing building. It will be located along San Diego Bay and adjacent to the current facility on the side that houses Exhibit Halls D-H.
9. How much will the expansion cost?
The City of San Diego is exploring financing options for the project. The cost is contingent upon a broad range of undetermined variables. Final design, financing, economic conditions, market rates, construction costs, expansion size, amenities and other variables.
studied a preliminary, “test-fit” concept for purposes of the Task Force only which was estimated to cost $750 million. However, the San Diego Convention Center Corporation issued an RFP in August 2010, and in November 2010, selected a new, more cost effective and efficient design. The new design is 38% less in reduced mass and volume and is estimated to cost $520 million.
10. Who is designing the expansion?
The architectural design team of Fentress Architects
/John Portman & Associates
were selected. Fentress Architects have worked on many other civic projects including the: Colorado Convention Center – both Phase I and expansion projects; Pasadena Convention Center; Santa Fe Community Convention Center; and the Los Angeles International Airport Tom Bradley International Terminal Expansion and Enabling projects.
11. Will there be any public and/or destination enhancements folded into the project?
The site is located along San Diego's signature waterfront so there is ample opportunity to enhance public-serving amenities
to benefit visitors and locals alike. Among other things, the concepts
include a 5-acre waterfront park
; grassy wide open spaces for public art, concerts and other events; retail space; a restaurant; and a pedestrian promenade
showcasing views of San Diego Bay. The expansion would also include development of a convention-oriented hotel and a previously planned water taxi.
12. Will the expansion be green?
Consistent with the recommendations of the MCTF
, public feedback and the San Diego Convention Corporation’s commitment to sustainable practices
, a number of environmentally-friendly options
are being proposed to make the expansion one of the greenest buildings in the nation. The building will be a United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
, or LEED
certified. Fentress has completed a preliminary LEED scorecard internally and believes that a Gold ranking will be possible. The Convention Center is proud to be a LEED Silver Certified
Other features include: energy efficient natural lighting, using natural light and sun shading; incorporation of a photovoltaic system to offset energy use; natural ventilation, solar chimney, geothermal heat exchange and use of wind power; storm water retention and filtration; on-site water treatment system for gray water recovery and re-use and dewatering desalination; low water plantings, drip irrigation and minimization of domestic water demand from city system; recycling and use of recycled materials and food composting.
13. How can I get up-to-date information about the possible expansion of the San Diego Convention Center?
Check our website
frequently for the latest news. You may also visit the City of San Diego’s Mayor’s Citizens Task Force website
to review the final task force report.