San Diego Business Journal

San Diego City Council has approved a final financing plan for a proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. However, the project hinges on court approval of a plan through which local hotels will pay the bulk of costs through new room taxes, backed earlier this year by hoteliers.

Council voted 6-1 to move forward, with Councilman David Alvarez opposed. Members gave formal approval to a plan through which the city would contribute $3.5 million annually, and the Port of San Diego would contribute $3 million annually over a 20-year span.

Council also signed off on the formal agreement allowing the city to build the expansion on port-controlled tidelands, and also on the project’s environmental impact report. The city has chosen Clark Construction Group LLC and Hunt Construction Group to lead project construction, and also authorized added preconstruction design work by Fentress Architects of Denver.

The expansion, set for completion in 2016, would add more than 700,000 square feet of meeting space and related amenities to the existing convention center. A proposed 500-room expansion of the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, to be funded by the hotel’s owners, is also part of plans, contingent on the convention center expansion moving forward.