San Diego

Funds to Upgrade Convention Center Sails Pavilion Found in Sacramento

 After years of money shortages, the San Diego Convention Center is finally zeroing in on funding to repair and renovate its iconic Sails Pavilion.

The facility has undergone a quarter-century of wear and tear.

That’ll be remedied by a series of projects that'll take two years to complete.

Convention Center officials already have game-planned for the adjustments they'll have to make to their busy meeting schedules.

They tell NBC 7 that the repairs and upgrades that are needed just can't be put off any longer.

"It's just old age, and wear and tear,” Convention Center spokesman Steven Johnson said in an interview Tuesday. “And just like all of us, we need time to recover and get back up to speed."

From its cracked and hole-pocked concrete floor -- weighted down by millions of tons of equipment and conventioneers since 1989 -- to the aging fabric sails that have come to represent "San Diego" on the world's stage, the pavilion will need $22 million in upgrades.

"We'll redo the whole concrete floor first and then we'll take a break,” Johnson explained. “And then we'll wait for Comic-Con to happen, and then immediately after Comic-Con happens we'll shut down the Sails Pavilion. And for the next six months we'll be replacing the sails infrastructure."

The escalators that serve that wing of the building, are in line for another $4 million in modernization work, with the same amount going the fire and life-safety systems and replacement of the cooling towers.

The funding will come in the form of loans from the State of California's Infrastructure & Economic Development Bank -- lending at low-low rates between 3 and 3 and a half percent over 20 years.

The city of San Diego is co-signing the loans.

But the Port District, which owns the convention center, will get to sell naming rights to the pavilion.

Official approvals from City Hall and the Convention Center's board are expected by April; hopes are, that the Infrastructure Bank will green-light the loans in May.

The annual payments on the debt will run just over $2 million.

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