The San Diego Comic Con is the end-all be-all of yearly movie, TV, and comic book conventions. It’s the convention where the biggest movies show off their newest footage, it’s where major announcements are made, and there is no other better place for one to completely disappear into an ocean of excited fanboys and girls who are buzzing with excitement…and likely dressed as their favorite characters.
Due to this scorching Summer celebration of all things geek, popularity in the convention has constantly grown over the years. It’s gotten to the point where so many people attend it’s painfully impossible to comfortably attend; hotels are hard to find, lines are infinite, and the many various halls replace oxygen with far more people than capacity would indicate.
With San Diego’s claim to the convention set for expiration in 2012, many other locations have began bidding for the right to claim it as their own. And because of the many aforementioned flaws, this has not sounded like the worst idea ever, despite the fact that it would be strange for Comic Con to be held anywhere but its beautiful San Diego home.
So far, Las Vegas, Anaheim, and Los Angeles have all raised their hands in hopes of acquiring Comic Con in the future, but it would appear that San Diego will not go down without a battle. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Diego Convention Center has reached a land deal that puts in motion a master plan to build a $753 million expansion to better accommodate their annual frenzy. Agreement from owners of the ocean-front land was needed in order to even begin this quest to retain Comic Con, which appears to be what had been holding up the expansion.
If things continue to head down this path and the expansion becomes a reality, the result would be significant to all parties. A brand new section would be built behind the Center near the water which would add 200,000 sq. feet of exhibit space, 100,000 sq. feet of meeting rooms, and another ballroom. Overall, this would deliver around 815,000 new sq. feet of space, equaling that of the Anaheim location that is currently in the running. There’s even plans to build a new 500-room hotel nearby.
When the San Diego Convention Center was first built in 1989, it cost $164 million, and a first expansion was pushed out in 2001, which cost $216 million. With this $753 million price tag, clearly they’re looking to make a big, big move here.
This is a crucial proposition for the convention center and for the city of San Diego. The center has already had to decline around 400 events due to lacking space, and the city simply gains far too much having Comic Con there. A report supporting the expansion was issued recently, and it showed that over the past twenty years, the convention center had amassed $18 billion for the local economy, and $364 million in tax revenue.
Construction on the major project would not begin until a new etched in stone agreement was reached between the convention center and the organizers of the Comic Con convention. If all goes well, it is expected that completion would be achieved by the year 2015. It’s also expected that if an agreement is reached, their existing agreement would be extended in order to cover the years between the end of their contract in 2012 and whenever the new expansion is ready to go.
[Source: via /Film]