The San Diego City Council has approved plans for the city to obtain a state loan of up to $25.5 million for repairs to the San Diego Convention Center, including replacement of the facility’s iconic but fraying Sails Pavilion roof structure.
According to city documents, the city and San Diego Convention Center have submitted joint applications to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, to address capital needs previously identified by center operators. Work will be financed through the Infrastructure State Revolving Fund program, geared to funding the projects of public agencies and non-profit corporations.
Planned improvements include approximately $18 million in upgrades to the Sails Pavilion, a key design element at the center since its 1989 opening. Operators plan to remove and replace the entire tensioned roof structure, and also replace the concrete floor, fire cannon, roof-top chiller and other elements.
Center upgrades will also include escalator modernizations ($3.7 million), cooling tower replacements ($1.6 million) and replacement of the existing fire alarm system in the center’s western building ($1.9 million).
The ordinance approved by the City Council authorizes the convention center to enter into a loan not exceeding $25.5 million, for a term of up to 25 years, among other parameters.
Convention center operators are in discussions with consultants and city officials on other potential programs to address the center’s long-term maintenance and repair needs, including sponsorships and naming rights for portions of the venue.