Crucial vote expected Thursday on San Diego Convention Center
Public access to the bay is key question
Last Updated: 64 days ago
SAN DIEGO - Built in 1989 and expanded in 2001, the San Diego Convention Center is looking to expand again, but the California Coastal Commission has the final say and the commission staff says no.
"Public access to the bay has been a problem with the first expansion and now they want to make it bigger?" asked Cory Briggs, a San Diego attorney who agrees public access is an issue but also believes the cost proponents say is $520 million is also off base.
"They haven't factored in $13 million that it will cost to take out the parking lot where the expansion will go and haven't figured in the total square footage or possible retail space," said Briggs. "We're looking at an additional $63.5 million that taxpayers will be on the hook for."
As for public access, commission staff wants a bridge built at an estimated cost of more than $40 million.
"We can do other things that cost a lot less," said interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. "I think what we're arguing over are details that we can iron out."
The project, he said, will generate $13.5 million in new revenue.
Gloria said the money will pave roads, pay for police and expand library hours. Plus, he said the convention center has had to turn away a year's worth of business because it is not large enough to accommodate those conventions who want to come here, like Comic-Con, which plans to leave after 2016 if the expansion does not take place.
The Coastal Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.