SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Convention Center turned 25 Monday, having generated billions of dollars of economic impact and given the city another iconic landmark with its Sails Pavilion, but challenges loom.
"When we look at what this convention center has meant and what it continues to offer, that is something that as mayor, I'm very proud of," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "We will continue to do great things."
According to the San Diego Convention Center Corp., the facility has hosted 20 million people at more than 5,000 events. Its economic impact has been estimated at $24.2 billion since the 1989 opening.
More than 14 million room nights have been booked at area hotels thanks to convention center events, resulting in around $450 million in tax revenue for the city, according to the SDCCC.
"This facility is more than just tax revenues for the city -- there are so many broader benefits to our community as a result of the convention center," said City Council President Todd Gloria. "Since opening in 1989, the San Diego Convention Center has been an industry leader in the 'green movement,' constantly finding ways to minimize impacts from large events on the environment."
The future of the convention center is hazy, however.
An expansion plan, which tourism officials say is necessary to attract the largest of the trade shows and keep the wildly successful Comic-Con International, is tied up in court.
If built, San Diego would have the largest amount of contiguous floor space of any convention building on the West Coast. Without it, officials in the local visitor industry contend that organizers of the really big conventions are opting to stage their events elsewhere, even though they've signaled that they'd like to come to San Diego.
"In this competitive environment, standing still is losing ground," said Nico Ferraro, chairman of the corporation's Board of Directors. "We must continue to find a way to build on our 25 years of success with a Phase III expansion of this facility."
Convention center executives are also trying to get their financial books in order following several years of operating without reserves, and finalizing a plan to address more than $40 million worth of necessary capital and maintenance projects.
Among them are an $11.4 million replacement of the roof sails, which could happen in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, according to a report presented to the City Council in March.
A car believed to have been used in the abduction of a 9-year-old boy in Santa Maria, prompting an Amber Alert in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, was found abandoned Tuesday, but the child and the suspect remained missing and were believed to be traveling in another vehicle.
An Eastlake family is bringing awareness to heart screening during the third annual Cristian's Big Heart 5K.
Many watchers of Monday's solar eclipse may have glanced at the sun without proper eye protection, if only for a brief moment. This can be dangerous, as looking directly at the sun can cause eye damage.
Substance abuse prevention advocates in San Diego plan to speak out Tuesday against legislation that would allow cities around the state extend the bar-closing time to 4 a.m., from the current 2 a.m.
A wildfire that scorched about 200 acres of brush in the southeastern reaches of San Diego County and threatened about 20 back-country homes was 40 percent contained Tuesday morning, fire officials said.
Authorities Monday released an artist's rendering of a man being sought for following and pestering teenage girls in East County neighborhoods early this summer.
Temperatures across San Diego County are expected to be about average Tuesday for mid-August with cooling expected for midweek before hot weather returns for the weekend.
At least three brush rigs, four fire engines and two helicopters were dispatched early Tuesday morning to battle a blaze that scorched about two dozen palm trees in Mission Valley, authorities said.
The future of a Confederate monument in a municipally operated cemetery in San Diego was unclear Monday amid an online petition calling for its removal.
A former Uber driver pleaded guilty Monday to raping a female passenger and sexually assaulting as many as 14 other victims, including many who were unconscious from drugs or alcohol when the attacks occurred.