Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009 | As part of the case to expand San Diego’s Convention Center, Convention Center Corp. officials distributed a list of 28 organizations that required a bigger center to do business with the city.
But, when informed of their appearance on the list, the two largest organizations said they shouldn’t be included. Convention managers at both the Radiological Society of North America and the National Association of Music Merchandisers said their organization’s annual meetings are unlikely to come to San Diego even after an expansion because of size or other concerns.
The two conventions’ combined projected economic impact represents almost 14 percent of the $2.7 billion in economic impact the Convention Center Corp. reported could be lost if the city did not expand the Convention Center. Loss of business is the central argument behind the need to spend between $750 million to $1 billion to expand the center.
The document, prepared March 6 by the corporation for the Convention Center task force and titled “Clients Requiring San Diego Convention Center Expansion,” divided the 28 organizations into four categories. Both the Illinois-based Radiological Society and Carlsbad-based Music Merchandisers Association are listed in the fourth category, “Events that have never booked San Diego because of their size, and can only consider us if we expand.”
“That’s inaccurate,” said Steve Drew, an assistant executive director at the Radiological Society. “If those are the parameters, we shouldn’t even be on this list.”
The Radiological Society’s annual conference, held for the last 20 years in Chicago, requires more than 2 million square feet of exhibition space. Originally, San Diego’s Convention Center was considering an expansion from 615,000 square feet to 1.1 million square feet. Under the plan approved by the Convention Center task force Monday night an expanded Convention Center would have about 800,000 square feet.