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City extends deadlines for convention center expansion


Last updated 8/21/2018 at 5:21pm

SAN DIEGO - The city announced a joint agreement on Monday to extend approaching deadlines concerning the acquisition of land to expand the San Diego Convention Center.

The city reached the "standstill agreement'' with the Port of San Diego and Fifth Avenue Landing, the company that holds the lease on property the city aims to use to expand the convention center. The agreement extends all deadlines under the purchase and sale agreement and escrow instructions to Sept. 25.

The city council and Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners approved the three-party agreement for expansion in June, contingent upon a now-failed initiative to raise hotel taxes.

The move to buy more time to acquire the land for expansion comes in the wake of the City Council's Aug. 10 decision not to consider adding the 11th-hour hotel tax initiative to the November ballot just before the submission deadline. Random sampling by the registrar of voters office showed the initiative would not have had the number of signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot on public support alone.

"Unlike some City Council members whose idea of solving a crisis is to hold yet another committee meeting, the Port and Fifth Avenue Landing have shown they are willing to step up for the greater good of our community,'' Mayor Kevin Faulconer said, apparently alluding to the four members who voted against waiving the council's rules to add the initiative to the ballot.

The city council is currently on legislative recess. The offices of councilmembers David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez had no comment and the offices of councilmembers Barbara Bry and Myrtle Cole did not respond to requests for comment.

"Even though an initiative to fund the expansion and help the homeless won't be on the November ballot, it is still on the table for a future election, and I thank Fifth Avenue Landing and the Port for their continued partnership on this very important issue,'' Faulconer said.

The city planned to use a portion of the revenue generated from the initiative, estimated to total $5.9 billion over 42 years, to purchase the property for expansion from Fifth Avenue Landing. Portions of the tax revenue would have also been allocated to homelessness services and road repairs.

If the registrar, as expected, determines by the Sept. 20 deadline that backers of the initiative did not gather enough valid signatures to place it on the November ballot, the next opportunity would be in 2020.


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