By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
The City Council of San Diego has unanimously approved the plan that aims to gather most of the funds needed to pay for the $550 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. Signon San Diego reports the plan aims to create a special district and tax on local hotel owners. The tax would be applicable to hotel property owners and hotel operators carrying out their activity on leased public land. Officials are expecting to generate between $28 million and $33 million a year, edging closer to the target $40 million needed to pay off 30-year bonds. The tax will be incremental depending on the proximity of the property to downtown, thus a 3 percent charge on hotel room revenue will be applicable to downtown properties, 2 percent for Mission Bay and Mission Valley establishments and 1 percent for the others. The city will create a facilities district similar to the Mello-Roos community facilities district.
Councilman Lorie Zapf raised questions regarding the public’s confusion over a perceived link between the future convention center and a new Chargers stadium. City officials specified that hotel taxes for the expansion of the center can’t be used on the stadium and assured the public that the legal language will be revised to make the restriction clear.
Ultimately, according to project manager Charles Black, the expansion is expected to attract 25 major new conventions each year to San Diego which will represent $121 million in extra hotel business as well as a $700 million economic impact and $15 million in new city revenue.
Supporters are hoping the new 750,000-square-foot facility can open by 2016.