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Coastal Commission approves San Diego Convention Center expansion project

On Oct. 10, 2013, the California Coastal Commission, the state agency overseeing land use, unanimously approved the San Diego Unified Port District Port Master Plan Amendment for the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel Expansion. The approval stood as the last permitting requirement for the $520 million project to move forward.

“I am thrilled with today’s approval and want to thank everybody who has been supporting this project,” said Carol Wallace, president and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corp. (SDCCC). “Many of our clients who have been outgrowing the current facility will now be able to book well into the future.”

The expansion is a culmination of a multi-year planning process to increase public access to the waterfront, activate an underutilized part of downtown San Diego’s waterfront and meet the demand for an expanded facility. Upon completion, the expansion will include an additional 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, creating the largest contiguous exhibit hall on the west coast, an 80,000 square foot ballroom, five-acre rooftop park and 500-room addition to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The proposed project is a regionally significant, environmentally sustainable project that will benefit meeting planners, attendees and locals alike.

“Today’s approval is the result of a strong five-year collaboration between SDCCC, the City of San Diego, the Port of San Diego, hotel developers and the community,” said Phil Blair, chair of board of directors, SDCCC. “This is a win for all San Diegans and will ensure we remain a top meeting and convention destination.”

While Coastal’s approval cleared a major hurdle, the project’s financing, which was ruled legal, is still under appeal and is expected to be resolved in the upcoming months. The expansion is expected to break ground in late 2014.

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. is a public benefit corporation created by the City of San Diego to exclusively manage and operate the waterfront facility. Now celebrating nearly 25 years of operation, the San Diego Convention Center has generated $22.9 billion in regional economic impact and $430.3 million in tax revenues and supports 12,500 jobs countywide.

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Posted in Southwest News, World
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