San Diego

Deadline Extended on Convention Center Land Deal

A 5-acre plot is needed for Convention Center expansion

The deadline has been extended on a deal to purchase a piece of land the city of San Diego needs to expand the Convention Center.

The 5-acre plot of land is owned by the state, managed by the Port of San Diego and leased to the Fifth Avenue Landing LLC, which plans to build a hotel on the land.

The deal, announced in June, would allow the city and the Port to purchase the land for $32 million, if voters approve a tax to fund the Convention Center expansion, pay for homeless services and repair roads.

The deadline for that deal was just extended from Aug. 20 to Sept. 25, according to the mayor’s office.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters is expected to determine by Sept. 20 if the tax measure garnered enough signatures to qualify for a future ballot, according to the mayor’s office.

The measure failed an initial qualification check by the City Clerk last week for the November ballot, and the City Council declined to put its own city-backed measure on the ballot.

According to the Voice of San Diego, a memo from the Registrar of Voters shows the random sampling projected the measure collected 72,713 valid signatures, more than the 71,646 needed to qualify for the ballot. If the full count reflects that projection, the measure would have what it needs to go before voters, but not until the 2020 election, according to the mayor's office.

Funding the Convention Center waterfront expansion is crucial to Mayor Kevin Falconer and his legacy as mayor.

“With thousands living without shelter and tens of thousands whose jobs depend on attracting convention business, the need for action on these urgent issues isn’t going away,” Faulconer said in a written news release.

Nearly 150 events take place at the Convention Center every year, but the biggest one, of course, is Comic-Con. As Comic-Con gets bigger each and every year, businesses and hotels have long feared it will outgrow San Diego.

The 5-acre property in question is on the southwest side of the convention center, and its location is critical to a contiguous waterfront expansion.

In June, the city and the Port made a deal to pay Fifth Avenue Landing $5.3 million as a deposit to the full $33 million cost of the waterfront land. The deal was the city and Port would only purchase the land if the measure to raise hotel taxes and expand the Convention Center was successful and approved by voters.

“Even though an initiative to fund the expansion and help the homeless won’t be on the November ballot, it is still on the table for a future election, and I thank Fifth Avenue Landing and the Port for their continued partnership on this very important issue,” Falconer said.

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