City makes deal to secure land for potential San Diego Convention Center expansion

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 15:49:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s goal of expanding the Convention Center took a big step forward Thursday.

Faulconer, along with officials from the Port of San Diego and Fifth Avenue Landing project, announced a three-party agreement -- overseen by a mediator -- that will allow the city to “secure long-term control of the land needed to expand and modernize the San Diego Convention Center using voter-approved funding.”

The deal would call for the Port of San Diego to pay about $33 million to Fifth Avenue Landing in order to purchase the existing leasehold. A $5 million non-refundable upfront payment is also included in the agreement.

The city would then purchase the new leasehold from the Port, with funding from a hotel tax increase.

Supporters of the "Yes! For A Better San Diego" initiative have more than 100,000 signatures and are on their way to reaching their goal to have enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

“It gives me a lot of optimism as we move forward here in the coming months that San Diegans will support this; this is so important for our economy for jobs, and it's not just for a few years. This will be an economic engine for decades,” said Faulconer.

The city apparently could have secured the land years ago for less than half the price but missed its opportunity. The site then become controlled by Fifth Avenue Landing, and plans for a bayfront hotel started forming.

If the ballot measure fails, the hotel project will move forward. Additionally, the city will have to reimburse the Port of San Diego for $5 million.

The deal will require approval by the Board of Port Commissioners and the City Council. Hearings are scheduled for June 12.