SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Friday that Comic-Con would be staying in San Diego through 2021, but he continued to note that an expanded convention center would be vital to keep the event and its impact on the local economy in America's Finest City.
At a press conference outside of the San Diego Convention Center's famed Hall H, Faulconer -- joined by Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi and Convention Center CEO Rip Rippetoe -- thanked Comic-Con's David Glanzer and his group for the agreement.
Comic-Con's deal with the city was set to expire in 2018. According to the Faulconer's spokeswoman Jen Lebron, the mayor's office worked over the last several months to help facilitate discussions between Comic-Con International, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego Convention Center and local hotels.
Faulconer said, "San Diego has always been the proud home of Comic-Con and we are extremely pleased that we can carry on that tradition of being the destination for the world's premier celebration of the popular arts. San Diegans can be excited to know that Comic-Con will continue to pump millions of dollars into our economy to support local jobs, street repair and neighborhood services. It is more important than ever that we continue to push the expand the convention center so we can ensure Comic-Con and other large conventions continue to stay in San Diego for years to come."
Comic-Con has an economic impact of $135 million and generates $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city, said the mayor's office. The revenue funds city services, including street repair, parks and libraries. The event also puts San Diego on an international stage with media coverage, according to Lebron.
Comic-Con spokesman Glanzer added, "While it did take more than a year in negotiations, we are pleased with this outcome. We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Faulconer and the hard work of those at the San Diego Tourism Authority who were instrumental in securing this agreement."
Earlier this month, the mayor was unable to get the City Council to schedule a special election for November, in order to place a convention center expansion project before voters. His plan was to raise hotel room taxes to pay for enlarging the facility by 400,000 square feet, and creating dedicated funding streams for street repairs and programs for the homeless.
Since the special election proposal was defeated, Faulconer's expansion plan wasn't considered by the council -- though it could land on the November 2018 general election ballot. A previous financing plan was successfully challenged in court.
The city faces another obstacle in that land needed for a larger convention center is now controlled by an entity called Fifth Avenue Landing, which is obligated by its lease with the Port of San Diego to build hotels on the property. The port owns the land along the bayfront, including under the convention center.
"These three additional years are going to go by real quickly," Faulconer said. "Our convention center must be expanded if we want to keep Comic-Con and other major events in our city."
The deal came following months of negotiations between city and convention center officials, the tourism authority and area hotels, which offer overflow event space and blocks of rooms.
Comic-Con, which started in the basement of the U.S. Grant hotel in 1970 and then moved to several other locations around the city, has been held at the convention center since 1991.
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This year's Comic-Con convention begins Wednesday, July 19 and continues through Sunday, July 23. 2017 is the 48th year for the event.
Banners advertising the convention are already in place downtown.
Follow 10News' in-depth Comic-Con coverage at 10News.com/Comic-Con