Expansion plan has been approved

11 OCTOBER 2013

In a unanimous vote yesterday, the California Coastal Commission approved the expansion plan for the San Diego convention center. Sorry, Chargers. 

You'll hear people speak vaguely of "keeping large conventions in San Diego" but make no mistake, this was all about Comic-Con. Given the colossal investment demanded by the whole shebang, I think we can safely rule out a Con relocation to LA or Vegas for oh, say, the next decade? Forever? I just can't see San Diego working this hard to keep us around and CCI spitting in the city's face. 

Here's what was at the stake: the Chargers wanted to create their own stadium/convention center expansion hybrid several blocks away from the current center. Anyone who's shuffled around the Con in a Storm Trooper costume, or carried bags of books and toys around, knows that idea was just nonsense. The Chargers have been threatening to leave San Diego if their plan didn't go through; I have no idea what they'll do next but as far as I'm concerned, they've now exited this story.

So we can now look forward to - in 4 years or so - another 740,000 square feet of convention space. To put that in perspective, the center currently offers 615,700 square feet of exhibit space, while the Sails Pavilion is 90,000 square feet. 

So, no, it won't be enough to accommodate everyone who wants to go to the Con, and I'm not entirely sure where the new hotel rooms will come from to house those extra attendees, and the funding strategy - a hotel room surcharge - is still being challenged in court. But it has to offer some relief from the Con's current limitations.


  1. I heard that some lobbyist already knew that the convention center was going expand and that she had numerous of votes already in her pocket. It was almost as if there was bribing going on. Now I don't know if this is true but I thought it was interesting.

    1. You know what they say about municipal politics.

  2. This is good news as I would hate for Con to leave SD. I wonder how they will they use this new space? Will there be an influx of smaller panels or does it just mean that the big panels will be in even bigger venues? Hall H is already impersonal enough as it is and that feeling will only worsen if it moves into an arena sized venue.

    Since Con is about as close as SD gets to having a proper mass-transit infrastructure like NYC, new hotels can be built quite far away and still be relatively convenient.

    1. I've been wondering about the big room/small room ratio. "Impersonal" is the perfect word for Hall H - especially if you're sitting in the back.

      The two biggest demands seem to be for big panels and general admission/Exhibit Hall. They could move comic retailers or Artist's Alley up to a different area - but an increase in attendees could still exceed capacity for the Exhibit Hall, creating a new line. We'll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out.