Council members frequently referred to the San Diego Convention Center as an economic engine for the area during talks yesterday in regards to a proposed expansion to the center. Council members seemed enthusiastic about additional revenue that could potentially come as a result of the proposed $550 million expansion.
In addition to the passionate discussions about the expansion itself, there are also passionate discussions about just exactly how much of the work in constructing the new expansion would be conducted by unions. Tony Young, president of the council, was encouraging people to keep the goals of the new expansion in mind.
According to Young, “Obviously jobs are important, obviously fairness is important. But what is more important is enhancing this great economic engine that we have here in San Diego, that’s what this is really about.”
Officials from the San Diego Convention Center have stated that they turn away an entire year’s worth of business every year because the center is completely booked. The new plans call for an increase to hotel taxes in order to pay for about 75% of the total construction costs. The taxes would generate about $30 million per year. This rate would vary, however, from 1% to 3% depending on how close a hotel is to the convention center.
San Diego’s hotels must also vote to approve the hike in taxes. The remaining cost would be covered by sources like redevelopment and taxi fees. Councilman Carl DeMaio has stressed that the Port of San Diego also needs to contribute to the new expansion as well. It is expected that the port will contribute toward the cost of the expansion. If the project does get approval, then it is expected to be completely finished by July 2015 at the earliest.
Source: KPBS – Convention Center Expansion Talks Under Way