SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City officials on Thursday proposed creating an assessment district in which area hotels will pay for the planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
The plan, developed by Mayor Jerry Sanders, the Convention Center Board of Directors and hoteliers, would levy a 3 percent assessment on each room night for downtown hotels. Those in Mission Valley or around Mission Bay would be charged 2 percent, and more outlying facilities 1 percent.
"As I have said from the very beginning, the expansion of our Convention Center should be paid for by those who will benefit from it," Sanders said. "Given that the hospitality industry stands to gain substantially, it's only logical that they should fund a significant portion of this."
The current price estimate for the expansion, scaled down from earlier versions, is $550 million, according to the mayor's office. City officials said the assessment district is expected to raise about $28 million to $30 million annually to pay for debt service.
More funding sources are needed to pay for the project. The mayor said he hopes to finalize a financing package by the end of the year.
Floor space would increase by 961,187 square feet to more than 2.75 million square feet. The square footage of meeting rooms and ballrooms would double under the plan.
The mayor's office believes an expanded Convention Center will increase hotel-room nights by 657,000 each year and produce $121 million in new revenue annually. It estimates the city will reap an additional $16 million in hotel tax revenue.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.
A man, possibly armed, and holed up inside a home in the Bay Park community for about four hours Saturday surrendered to police without incident.
Vacationing homeowners were hit by thieves in Mira Mesa, but thanks to a smartphone app, the crooks did not get away with it.
Signs warning people to stay out of the water are once again posted in Imperial Beach after a new spill from Mexico dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River - polluting the South Bay.
Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.