Before San Diego can't even think about a new downtown Chargers stadium, city leaders say we need to get the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center approved.
On Thursday, planners showed new images of the proposed expansion they will present to the California Coastal Commission on October 9.
The San Diego Unified Port District’s plan involves adding more pedestrian access, public views, a new promenade bayside and the rerouting of truck traffic for safer pedestrian walkways. It also offers ways to save energy including the use of natural light and ventilation as well as storm water retention and filtration.
“This is not something that popped up overnight or a last minute idea put forward by an individual, this is a project sculpted over time to be reflective of all our needs,” said San Diego Interim Mayor and City Council President Todd Gloria.
The goal of the port’s plan, endorsed by many community and business leaders, is to improve the waterfront while also creating more convention center space and lure or retain large conventions, like Comic-Con, that want to keep participants all under one roof.
The San Diego Chargers have a different expansion in mind: a joint-use stadium and convention center in East Village, blocks away from the current convention center.
So when city leaders will seek commission approval for the $520 million expansion project, the Chargers want in on that meeting.
The team has already appealed to the Coastal Commission and that's a big problem for city leaders who've been pushing their expansion project.
"These are not mutually exclusive projects. We're going to do this one first, and then we'll deal with that one next," Gloria said.
Chargers spokesperson Mark Fabiani said the team’s $1.2 billion plan would free up land at the Qualcomm Stadium site and Sports Arena which would draw attention and money from developers.
Also, the team believes their plan could help San Diego attract large sporting events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Fours as well as political conventions.
San Diego Convention Center Corporation Chair Phil Blair said the idea proposed by the San Diego Chargers may be considered in the future, just not right now.
“Once we've absolutely maxed out our expansion here, and this probably will be it, then we may need a second convention center and that might tie in with a football field, or not," Blair said.