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Port of Contention

San Diego city councilmember Carl DeMaio has some questions for the Port of San Diego before he’s ready to endorse the city’s convention center expansion. In a June 30 memo issued by his office, the District 5 councilmember asked the Port to “play a more pro-active and equitable role” in financing the project, which would add over 400,000 square feet to the 2.6 million square-foot structure. The estimated cost of the expansion is more than one billion dollars.

“I remain cautiously optimistic and generally supportive of the convention center expansion concept under two conditions,” began the memo.

Those two conditions: that “market and cost-benefit analyses” demonstrate a “sufficient net benefit of the expansion”; and that the project be financed without any further subsidies from San Diego’s general fund. Currently, the City pays out approximately $4 million annually to run the convention center. If the project moves forward, the annual payment is estimated to increase tenfold.

For that reason, DeMaio is asking for financial information to see whether the Port can absorb some construction costs while the City gets its finances together.

For instance, phase two of the expansion project the Port is responsible for paying $4.5 million a year on the debt until 2028; the City would pay $9.2 million a year.

“Does the port’s annual contribution toward the…debt service continue throughout the life of the debt, or will the city at some point be responsible for a greater share of the annual payment?” asked DeMaio in the memo.

The councilmember also asks how much money the port makes from convention center parking revenues and from hotel and retail leases.

Lastly, DeMaio asked that the concept’s designers look at scratching the 250-room hotel included in the expansion and doubling it to 500 rooms as a way to increase revenues.

“The convention center could serve as an example of successful strategic collaboration between the city and the port,” concluded the memo. “I want to ensure that the port appropriately continues its collaboration and support for this regional economic asset.”

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San Diego city councilmember Carl DeMaio has some questions for the Port of San Diego before he’s ready to endorse the city’s convention center expansion. In a June 30 memo issued by his office, the District 5 councilmember asked the Port to “play a more pro-active and equitable role” in financing the project, which would add over 400,000 square feet to the 2.6 million square-foot structure. The estimated cost of the expansion is more than one billion dollars.

“I remain cautiously optimistic and generally supportive of the convention center expansion concept under two conditions,” began the memo.

Those two conditions: that “market and cost-benefit analyses” demonstrate a “sufficient net benefit of the expansion”; and that the project be financed without any further subsidies from San Diego’s general fund. Currently, the City pays out approximately $4 million annually to run the convention center. If the project moves forward, the annual payment is estimated to increase tenfold.

For that reason, DeMaio is asking for financial information to see whether the Port can absorb some construction costs while the City gets its finances together.

For instance, phase two of the expansion project the Port is responsible for paying $4.5 million a year on the debt until 2028; the City would pay $9.2 million a year.

“Does the port’s annual contribution toward the…debt service continue throughout the life of the debt, or will the city at some point be responsible for a greater share of the annual payment?” asked DeMaio in the memo.

The councilmember also asks how much money the port makes from convention center parking revenues and from hotel and retail leases.

Lastly, DeMaio asked that the concept’s designers look at scratching the 250-room hotel included in the expansion and doubling it to 500 rooms as a way to increase revenues.

“The convention center could serve as an example of successful strategic collaboration between the city and the port,” concluded the memo. “I want to ensure that the port appropriately continues its collaboration and support for this regional economic asset.”

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1

Another white elephant that will be added to the Charger expansion, the Padres ballpark and the pension fiasco.

It never ends in San Diego.

July 5, 2009

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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