San Diego Business Journal

Hoteliers Group Backs Convention Center Funding Plan

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Hotel Motel Association of San Diego County, a trade group of local hoteliers, has given conditional approval to a measure that would raise the bulk of funding for a proposed $520 million San Diego Convention Center expansion through a surcharge on hotel rooms.

Association President Jim Durbin said by phone that the group’s executive board unanimously voted on Jan. 12 to support the measure, proposed last year by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. The City Council is expected to vote Jan. 24 on the exact wording of an ordinance creating a hotel assessment district.

Durbin said the group’s approval came with the condition that the makeup of the Convention Center’s governing board be changed to include four representatives from the hotel industry. There are currently no hoteliers on the center’s board.

The hoteliers group has proposed a setup where the Convention Center board would include four hotel representatives, two members from organized labor, two at-large members, and one member from a local tourist attraction.

Under the city proposal, San Diego hotels with at least 30 rooms would finance approximately three-quarters of the Convention Center expansion cost through room surcharges.

Downtown hotels would add 3 percent to the price of rooms, with 2 percent added at hotels in Mission Valley, Mission Bay and Harbor Island, and 1 percent at all others.

— Lou Hirsh