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Hotel fees in San Diego would pay for convention center expansion under mayor's plan

May 13, 2011 | 11:04 am

Comiccon San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has proposed adding new hotel fees to help pay for an expansion of the city's convention center.

Under the plan unveiled Thursday, the hotels around the convention center would approve an assessment district, imposing a 3% per night room fee on hotels immediately adjacent to the center and hotels farther away paying 2% or 1%, depending on the distance.

The new tax would generate up to $30 million a year toward the cost of the $500-million expansion, expected to be completed in 2015.

Under the expansion plan, the gross floor area of the convention center would increase by 961,187 square feet, from 1.76 million square feet to 2.72 million square feet.

The city has pushed to expand the convention center partly to retain some of its largest conventions, including Comic-Con International, the world's largest comics and pop culture gathering of its kind. Last year, Los Angeles and Anaheim tried to lure Comic-Con away from San Diego, where it had been launched in 1970.

Comic-Con organizers had complained that the San Diego Convention Center was no longer big enough to hold the gathering, which was limited to 125,000 attendees last year. Still, organizers announced in September that the gathering would remain in San Diego for at least another five years.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: View of the convention hall floor at Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times.