"Gotham's" Cory Michael Smith Savors the Arrival of the Riddler
Conventions | While the San Diego Chargers support the construction of a multi-use stadium that’s not connected to the San Diego Convention Center, Comic-Con International still favors a contiguous expansion. “If a convention center is built across the street or blocks away from the current location, any convention considering an event in San Diego would be forced to determine who gets to stay at the main facility and who is relegated to the ‘other’ venue,” Comic-Con’s David Glanzer writes in a column reiterating the organization’s stance. “Comic-Con experienced a similar scenario some years ago when we attempted to create more exhibit space by moving some exhibitors upstairs to the Sails Pavilion. Even though all exhibitors were in the same building, the fact that some were only one floor removed from others caused a great deal of consternation as they objected to not being on what they considered to be the main exhibit floor.” [San Diego Union-Tribune]
The only obstacle preventing Comic-Con International from committing to remaining in San Diego through 2018 is area hotels.
According to Voice of San Diego, some hoteliers are resisting an amended contract that would ensure the same number of discounted rooms in the convention block at the same rates for the next two years.Last year, the site says, hotels committed 56,600 discounted room nights. However, Comic-Con, which attracts more than 130,000 attendees annually, could fill twice that.
With just two weeks until the official start of Comic-Con International, organizers are reportedly nearing a deal with San Diego officials that will keep the event in the city through 2018. The current contract expires next year.
Although there’s been no official comment about an agreement, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports an announcement is expected before the convention gets under way on July 9. Area hoteliers have confirmed to the newspaper that they’ve been asked to amend their 2016 contracts, agreeing to maintain the same number of discounted rooms at the same rates through 2018.
Conventions | With the long-planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center stalled indefinitely, the Los Angeles Times offers an overview of efforts to keep Comic-Con International in the city past 2016, and what suitors like Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, have to offer. “The proposals we’ve received are pretty amazing,” says Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer. “It’s not an easy decision.” However, the San Diego Tourism Authority remains confident that convention organizers will sign a deal — possibly with a month — to remain in the city through 2018, based on an agreement for nearby hotels to offer their meeting space for Comic-Con programming. (The Tourism Authority has already asked hotels in the Comic-Con room block to freeze their rates at 2015 levels for the next two years.) [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | The San Diego Tourism Authority is asking hotels in the Comic-Con International room block to freeze their rates at the 2016 level for the following two years, as part of its bid to keep the convention in the city. Already, 30 of the 50 participating hotels have agreed to do so. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will attend the next Comic-Con board meeting to make an appeal to organizers to remain in the city; Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said Anaheim has made a bid for Comic-Con, but the city’s convention bureau wouldn’t comment.
A plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center collapsed after the hotel-tax funding scheme was ruled unconstitutional, but Anaheim is preparing to break ground on its own 200,000-square-foot expansion. However, Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said, “Some people had mistakenly implied that an expanded convention center would be the thing that solidified our decision to stay or go, but there are a number of factors to be addressed: hotel room rates, available space within hotels and outside the center, things that could mitigate the issue of having outgrown the convention center. An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.” [U-T San Diego]
Conventions | Although the planned $500 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is, by all appearances, dead, Comic-Con International isn’t ready to say what it will do when its contract expires in 2016. “With regard to the convention center expansion, I can say that any decision to remain in San Diego has always been dependent upon a number of factors, and no one issue could really trump the others,” says David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations. He notes that organizers previously worked with the city, convention center and hotels to expand programming venues, and they continue to discuss such issues as “space, hotel rates and other logistical factors that need to be addressed if we are to remain in San Diego.”
The proposed expansion would have added 740,000 square feet of exhibit space, a five-acre rooftop park, a waterfront promenade with retail shops and restaurants, and a second, 500-room tower to the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. However, a California appeals court ruled Aug. 1 that a planned hotel tax intended to pay for the bulk of the costs was unconstitutional, as it was never put to a citywide vote. Anaheim and Los Angeles attempted to woo Comic-Con away from San Diego in 2010. [ICv2.com]
San Diego City Council decided Tuesday it won’t appeal a court ruling that struck down the hotel tax devised to fund most of the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
That leaves the financing “up in the air,” council President Todd Gloria told City News Service after the unanimous vote. “It means we’re going to have to spend some time figuring out a way to pay for this project or find a new one.”
In short, as Scott Lewis writes on Voice of San Diego, after six years and $10 million, the expansion plan is dead.
San Diego City Council will meet this afternoon in a closed session to discuss whether to appeal a recent California appeals court ruling that cripples the funding plan for the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
According to City News Service, council members don’t necessarily have to reach a decision today — although City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told them earlier this month that they have until Sept. 10 to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of California. Before any action is taken, however, an open session will be held to allow the public to offer input.
San Diego City Council recessed for summer break Thursday without deciding how to respond to a state appeals court ruling that the plan to finance the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel ruled last week that the room surcharge, approved two years ago by hoteliers and City Council, has to be put to a citywide vote. The financing scheme, which would have added another 1 cent to 3 cents per dollar to room taxes, was expected to generate about $35 million annually.
Delivering a crippling blow to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, a California appeals court ruled Friday that the hotel tax devised to fund most of the project is unconstitutional.
Although hoteliers and city council approved the room surcharge two years ago, U-T San Diego reports the three-judge panel unanimously found that the tax had to be put to a citywide vote. Several groups, including San Diegans for Open Government, opposed the funding scheme, arguing that the arrangement amounted to privatizing the city’s taxing authority. A Superior Court judge sided with the city in March 2013, but opponents appealed the ruling.
Although Preview Night is still hours away, there’s still plenty of Comic-Con International news and miscellaneous tidbits, ranging from early announcements and last-minute preparations to convention exclusives and recommendations. We’ve rounded up just some of them here.
• Fox has partnered with BOOM! Studios to produce a convention-exclusive Maze Runner comic. Written by the film’s director and screenwriter, Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin, and illustrated by Marcus To, the one-shot will be given to attendees of the studio’s Hall H presentation on Friday.
• Dark Horse rounds up its pre-convention announcements of 12 new creator-owned comics, including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Alex Maleev, EI8HT, by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson, The Black Hammer, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, and Fight Club 2, by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.
• The online comics education resource Comics Experience has partnered with IDW Publishing to release creator-owned titles by new talent, beginning in January with five miniseries: Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira; Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek; Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley; and Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker.
Despite objections by the San Diego Chargers and concerns about public access to the waterfront, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city.
While the blessing of the commission — it’s a state agency with regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone — removes one major obstacle, U-T San Diego notes there remains pending litigation to the project’s financing scheme, which calls for a hotel surcharge of 1 percent to 3 percent. Hoteliers have already agreed to the plan, and a judge has upheld the assessment as legal, but opponents have appealed the ruling, arguing the arrangement amounts to privatizing the city’s taxing authority.
Conventions | A even bigger obstacle than the San Diego Chargers to the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center could be the California Coastal Commission, which must approve the project before it can proceed (the stage agency has regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone). The commission’s 11 members are meeting today through Friday in Mission Valley, where they’re expected to consider staff objections about reduced access to the bay; a bridge, estimated to cost about $42 million, from the foot of Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter has been floated as a solution. A public hearing is being held Thursday. The expansion of the convention center is viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. [U-T San Diego]
Comic-Con International is spilling out of the San Diego Convention Center as Warner Bros. Entertainment takes over Bayfront Park for Lawn Con, a free pop-culture event for big and little kids alike.
Open to the public Thursday through Sunday, Lawn Con features lives DJs, a picnic area, and characters and replicas from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Pictures: enormous blow-ups of the Teen Titans Go! crew, ranging in height from 17 to 30 feet; a life-size LEGO model of Bag End from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, complete with Gandalf, Bilbo and others; life-size LEGO models of Batman, Robin and The Joker; and a replica of Scooby-Doo and the gang’s Mystery Machine.
Bayfront Park is located between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel.
As big of a boon as Comic-Con International is to the San Diego economy, new research has found something significantly larger: beer.
U-T San Diego reports that an independent study released on Monday– it’s the first devoted to the impact of local craft brewing — found the county’s breweries accounted for $299.5 million in wages, capital expenses and contracts in 2011. The direct economic impact of Comic-Con International that same year was about $180 million, up a little from the $163 million figure found in a 2010 study commissioned by the San Diego Convention Center Corp.
Add to that $299.5 million beer number a reported $680.8 million in local brewery sales, and hotel and restaurant revenues from events like San Diego Beer Week. The new study determined local brewpubs employ 1,133 people, and breweries another 497.