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San Diego Convention Center tennis courts permanently closed

Viewers reached out to CBS 8 because those courts have been closed for more than a decade and people want to use them.

SAN DIEGO — You’d never know it by walking around the San Diego Convention Center that there are six tennis courts on the rooftop. Imagine the gorgeous views if you’re playing up there.

Viewers reached out to CBS 8 because those courts have been closed for more than a decade and people want to use them.

CBS 8’s Anna Laurel started calling the city, the convention center, the Port of San Diego, and the Marriott. All those entities have something to do with the convention center or the tennis courts or both.

The mayor’s office sent CBS 8 a City of San Diego staff report from January 2022 stating:

“The tennis courts are in disrepair. And neither the City of San Diego, Port, nor the Marriott sees usefulness in repairing them.” 

The City Council voted to approve the amendment in the report to do away with the courts and repair the convention center roof.

The Port of San Diego built the courts for the Marriott in 1989. It was part of a 1980s land deal that helped get the convention center built.

The city’s report says that 12 years ago, the fire marshal recommended closing them because there wasn’t a safe way for people to escape in case of a fire or other emergency. So, the Marriott shut them down.

CBS 8 found a proposal the Port says it submitted on behalf of the Marriott.

The 2018 proposal restores three of the courts and removes the remaining three.

The proposal says the project would take 6 months to complete and the newly restores tennis courts would be open to Marriott guests and members of the public.

In 2015, there was a push to reopen the courts to the public. At the time, our current Mayor Todd Gloria was a city councilmember. 

Back then he told CBS 8, “Park and recreational facilities are deficient in many San Diego neighborhoods including downtown. Closing the tennis courts is unfortunate…and I don’t support it.” 

But by 2020 Convention Center leaders were talking about an $8 million roof replacement and design. A budget meeting report says discussions are underway for solar feasibility and tennis court removal.

In the report, it says the courts have been the cause of leaks during events resulting in costly repairs and maintenance.

The City Council approved the plan to do away with the courts and replace the convention center roof.

CBS 8 asked the mayor’s office about Mayor Gloria’s stance in 2015 and his decision to back the removal of the tennis courts today. 

In a statement the city said:

“In 2015, then-Councilmember Gloria expressed support for reopening the tennis courts. Subsequently, it became clear that the roof of the Convention Center has reached the end of its useful life and must be replaced or repaired, and to do that, the tennis courts must be removed. The City Council approved an agreement with the Port of San Diego that allows the repair to proceed, and the project is under way.”

As for the convention center’s roof renovation project, CBS 8 asked for more details on the cost and timeline. 

Here is their response. Looks like we won’t see any work done until next year.

“We are close to wrapping up the preliminary design and technical requirements phase. This includes assessing inter-related mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that are logical to address concurrently. Each component is a significant add-on to the reroofing efforts. As a result, the schedule and costs may vary significantly based on what makes the final parameters. We anticipate physical construction to take place in 2023."

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