Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 11 2014

San Diego Convention Center Update

The Greater Midwest Chapter

Planners who book San Diego might wonder what will happen as a result of the California Appellate Court’s recent decision against a proposed assessment to fund the San Diego Convention Center expansion.

Through that proposed TID (tourism improvement district) funding mechanism, San Diego hotels would have applied an assessment of 1% to 3% on occupants and, in turn, that funding mechanism would have financed the $520 million expansion. The court found it unconstitutional, because it considers the assessment a tax never put to a vote by the city’s registered voters as required by the California Constitution and the City Charter. Currently, a two-thirds majority vote is required to raise taxes.

The City Council recently voted not to challenge the appeals decision to the California Supreme Court in part because of potential further delays to expansion.

Consensus on current options seems to be twofold:

  1. Find alternative funding.
  2. Put the issue on the election ballot. Most likely, this would mean the 2016 election, which would delay the expansion’s opening.

While these options are being considered, the community is solidly committed to supporting expansion. Their current plan includes four major features: an additional 225,000 gross square feet of contiguous ground level exhibit space; a third ballroom of up to 80,000 square feet; an additional 70 meeting rooms; and a five-acre rooftop park.

Since its last expansion, San Diego has solidly moved its ranking from a second-tier to first-tier destination. Based on continued demand, San Diego is committed to overcome these challenges as done so in their previous expansion.

Angie Ranalli, Vice President of Sales – Midwest, San Diego Tourism Authority, and their local team can answer questions and provide updates as information is available. She can be reached at aranalli@sandiego.org or 312-943-5399.