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Mayor stresses need for Convention Center expansion as Comic-Con 2018 begins

November ballot measure would fund expansion, more
Posted at 1:17 PM, Jul 19, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV): While welcoming fans from all over the world to San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer spent a few minutes Thursday morning reminding locals that they can be superheroes by voting for a ballot measure to expand the Convention Center.

"Comic-Con generates over 140 million dollars every year," he said, noting that money pays for infrastructure, first responders and more.

The Mayor and other city leaders put forth a plan to raise hotel taxes to pay for an expansion. The plan would also pour money into funds to pay for road repairs and homeless services. They think it can raise almost $6.4 billion.

"It wouldn't matter how much space we create or how big the Convention Center gets. Comic-Con would fill it," says Rip Rippetoe, the President and CEO of the Convention Center.

According to its website, the San Diego Convention Center currently has 615,701 square feet of exhibit space, with another 204,114 feet of meeting space. The proposed expansion would add another 400,000 square feet to that.

City officials estimate that could bring in another 50 major conventions each year.

It would also keep Comic-Con happy. The annual gathering of pop culture is committed to staying in San Diego until 2021.

"We want to stay here," says Comic-Con Spokesman David Glazner. He says they always get overtures from other cities to move and have to do their due diligence just in case. When asked directly if Comic-Con would leave if the November measure fails, Glazner declined to give a straight answer.

"There are a number of factors in that decision," he told 10News. "Should a few of them go a bad way, we'd seriously consider another city."