Convention Center Expansion May Cost $783.4M

Banking Firm Details Financing Plans

The proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center would cost $783.4 million, or $821.9 million if an adjoining pedestrian bridge is built, according to an analysis released Monday.

The analysis, prepared by the Minneapolis-based investment banking firm PiperJaffray, was presented to Mayor Jerry Sanders' so-called Citizens' Task Force on the San Diego Convention Center.

A proposed 500-room hotel at the San Diego Convention Center would cost an additional $200 million, according to the 31-page analysis.

If just the Convention Center expansion and pedestrian bridge moves forward, it would cost the city $56.2 million annually to finance the project. That number would drop to $52.5 million if the hotel is built.

PiperJaffray's analysis included four hypothetical ways the city could finance the project including:

  • increasing the tax charged for hotel room stays by 1 percent
  • upping the city's food and beverage sales tax by 1 percent
  • charging a $5 surcharge on rental cars
  • imposing a $2 surcharge for tickets to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo

    If all four proposals were imposed, the city would raise $79.2 million a year, according to PiperJaffray's study.

    Sanders has said a 300,000-square-foot expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is needed to retain large conventions.

    The Convention Center generated about $30 million in tax revenue for the city of San Diego last fiscal year, according to the mayor's office.