San Diegans gained a better outlook on familiar public land on the fresh air bay yesterday when the California Coastal Commission approved a convention center expansion plan that preserves bay views seen from the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge. The loss in public land and bay views inevitably part of the expansion weighty in the local jobs recovery plan was lowered by a plan revision that slightly pulled back and angled the southwest corner of the expansion building. The change lowers the profitable square footage by 5,175 square feet.
Lack of a plan to build a pedestrian bridge over Harbor Drive at 4th Avenue, connecting the Gaslamp to the bay did not make the plan to preserve public access insufficient for the commission's Thursday approval on a coastal development permit at a hotel meeting room on Hotel Circle.
Visitors to the strip passing along the Embarcadero Marina Park South will find a small public plaza, part of the price the developer had to pay to take the grass lands behind the current conventio center. As San Diego grows in the future, the city will have to build parks to the bay surrounding the 740,000 square foot building addition topped by a 5 acre rooftop park and plaza.
A large increase in the economic take the city gains from the expansion that ends concerns over convetion space blocked by divisions with large contiguous space, estiamted at 700 million dollars a year, won out despite the uncertainty on a permit approval caused by giving up more access ways into the bay 15 years after the last expansion blocked acccess with a high structure creating a public access problem the commission admitted is "exacerbated" by the expansion plan.
Past experiences with an open shorefront will end once the long convention building improves large convention opportunities and a 372 foot high tower at the Hilton Hotel adds ballroom space. Limits on private events part of the permitted development deal will hold back plans San DIegans make to enjoy the free public bay lands.
Workers in the local unions that handle convention center work, the Teamsters dock workers among them, welcomed the relaxed expansion plan that will produce thousands of construciton jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs.
This is the latest telling news article for High TImes on Fridays. To read the laast article, read