Efforts to expand San Diego's Convention Center got a thumbs-down recommendation from the state Coastal Commission’s staff on Friday.
In two weeks, Coastal Commission members will meet to vote on the half-billion-dollar project – and the latest on the project’s rivalry with the Chargers’ stadium proposal.
A just-released report from the Coastal Commission's staff says the proposed expansion of the Convention Center would disrupt pedestrian access, and block more view corridors, to San Diego Bay.
Those same objections were raised and dismissed by the Commission itself before the facility opened in 1989 and was expanded in 2001.
Convention Center officials argue that five acres of rooftop parkland and a public plaza will be created, to open up more sightlines to the bay and ocean beyond. They also say pedestrian access and safety will be enhanced.
On Friday, despite that staff report, San Diego Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and local business leaders expressed optimism that Coastal Commission members will ultimately approve the Convention Center expansion when it considers the issue at its Oct. 10 meeting.
“Once the Commissioners themselves see the overwhelming benefits of this project, the extraordinary degree of community support and the public benefits to San Diego Bay, I’m optimistic they will support our request,” Gloria said in a prepared statement.
“This project enhances public access and safety, builds a new five-acre rooftop park that will be a destination for residents and visitors alike, and will build on the facility’s long history of environmental leadership. We will continue to work to address the issues raised by Coastal Commission staff.”