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San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders, Expects Much of Financial Burden for
Convention Center Expansion to Rest with the City's Hoteliers


By Lori Weisberg, The San Diego Union-Tribune
February, 2011


                                                                                - Rendering courtesy of Fentress Architects

The proposed convention center expansion would add more than
400,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit and ballroom space.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has yet to reveal how he intends to finance a planned expansion of the Convention Center, but he made it clear during a speech Thursday night that much of the financial burden will have to rest on the city's hotels.

While Sanders did not spell out what form the industry's contribution would take, he acknowledged in an interview that a key funding source would likely be a surcharge on hotel room rates.

Taking advantage of a captive audience assembled at the Town and Country Resort to honor individuals in the tourism industry, Sanders told the group that he expects the "investment from this industry should be sizable and long-term."

Cost estimates for the proposed expansion have exceeded $700 million, although it is still possible the final price tag could be significantly less.

Steve Cushman, a convention center board member who has been tapped by Sanders to craft a financing plan, said he intends to propose an assessment similar to the 2 percent hotel room surcharge created a few years ago by the city's hoteliers to fund the marketing of San Diego as a tourist destination.

"The financing package will require a number of sources to make it successful," said Cushman, who was honored Thursday with a Gold Key Award for outstanding contributions to the tourism industry. "Certainly, one of those sources would be an assessment on San Diego hotel rooms that would be paid for by our visitors."

Local hoteliers are well aware that the convention center expansion won’t happen without their financial help and are willing to do their part, said Jim Durbin, president of the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association.

For the rest of the story please visit:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/feb/17/mayor-sanders-calls-on-hotels-to-help-pay-for-conv/


Contact:

Lori Weisberg, Staff Writer
San Diego Union-Tribune
350 Camino de la Reina
San Diego, CA  92102
619-293-2251
lori.weisberg@uniontrib.com


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