On May 17, Steve Cushman, the one-time port commissioner and current liaison for the mayor on the proposed Convention Center expansion, is supposed to give the City Council an update on how the deal he’s trying to put together is going.
In short, he’s supposed to make it rain (which is why search for a new stadium, is trying to create the impression that there is momentum behind the idea to put a roof on a new stadium downtown and use that to host conventions.
“I think it’s an idea that’s starting to make a lot of sense to people,” Fabiani told XX Sports 1090.
I think this is clearly coming up as a rival to the Convention Center, not as a supplement to its plans. That was evidenced by the sharp rebuke Fabiani provoked from Steven Johnson, the VP of the Convention Center Corp. who wrote this on Twitter:
“I would like Mark Fabiani to stop trying to tie the Chargers stadium to a convention center complex. Not happening and doesn’t work,” he wrote.
Convention Center boosters may not like being pitted against schools, but they might hate being pitted against the Chargers even more.
Cushman, for his part, told me that hosting conventions in a new stadium downtown doesn’t do anything to solve the problem he and other supporters of expansion are trying to accomplish.
The Convention Center task force, commissioned by the mayor, reviewed plans to put some of the new convention space next to Petco Park, not far from where the new football stadium is envisioned. It’s separated from Convention Center by Harbor Drive (though now connected by that enormous pedestrian bridge). The task force, based on Convention Center CEO Carol Wallace’s testimony, deemed it unrealistic to think that meetings could utilize that as a continuous space. It would be a totally separate facility.
“It doesn’t help us get 25 conventions to San Diego who need more space. What this is all about is allowing us to compete for conventions that today we cannot attract due to our size,” he said.
But the Chargers keep pushing and with Los Angeles pushing a similar concept for its new stadium, it puts yet another obstacle in the way of the big Convention Center vision.
So, aside from all that, the project is right on track.