After a tense and protracted period, it finally looks like the San Diego Convention Center can move forward with a long-awaited expansion to its facilities, allowing space for the San Diego Comic-Con to remain at the location.
This expansion, which has seen objections and consternations from all quarters, was awaiting approval for an amendment of The San Diego Unified Port District Port Master Plan which was the last permitting requirement for the $520m (nearly £325.5m) project to move forward.
The major resistance came from the San Diego Chargers who wanted plans to be shelved in preferance to their proposal for a new football stadium, proposes building a second venue a few blocks away, which would be part of a complex that included the stadium but would not be contiguous with the existing convention center.
The last couple of days also saw the challenge of the San Diego Coastal Commission who felt that the new expansion would wreak havoc for the harbour, as well as damaging views of the bay.
These fears have been rested with ammendments to the proposed plans, along with the overwhelming support that appeared for today’s hearing. Almost 200, including members of the UNITE HERE Local Union No. 30, stepped up to declare their support for the expansion.
San Diego Comic-Con’s David Glanzer (Director of Press and Public Relations) was in attendance, saying “The expanded Center will keep conventions like Comic-Con [at the venue].”
Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the San Diego Convetion Center Corporation said, “I am thrilled with today’s approval and want to thank everybody who has been supporting this project. Many of our clients who have been outgrowing the current facility will now be able to book well into the future.”
While this decision clears a major hurdle, the project’s financing remains under appeal and is expected to be resolved in the near future. The expansion is expected to break ground in late 2014, after next years Con. No statement has been made on how the development will affect the Con during its construction.