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Daily Business Report — June 21, 2012

Local Leaders Push for Expansion
of San Diego Convention Center

Completion of the proposed San Diego Convention Center expansion cannot come soon enough for some local leaders. At a recent breakfast presentation of the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana District Council, government and private sector representatives touted the many economic benefits to the expansion, including significant job growth. Panelist Jim Durbin, president of the San Diego Hotel Association, cited a study by The London Group that suggested as many as 10,000 construction jobs would be created by the expansion. As many as 11 hotels might be built, creating even more construction jobs and increasing the need for hotel workers and other businesses surrounding the new development. “The convention center expansion benefits really do trickle down,” said Jeffrey Burg, chair of the Gaslamp Quarter Association.

Approval Process — The convention center, which was originally built in 1989, was expanded once before in 2001. The latest proposed expansion would add a third building to the bayfront center.  The draft EIR is currently out for public review and upon certification by the San Diego Unified Port District, the proposal will proceed to the California Coastal Commission for approval along with the port master plan amendment. Proponents see the expansion as necessary to attract larger conventions as well as keep current convention business from going elsewhere. According to Burg, the convention center fuels 5,000 jobs in the Gaslamp Quarter, and that number will grow with the expansion.

Future Possibilities — When asked whether San Diego should already be looking beyond this proposed expansion to yet another, Marney Cox, chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments, cautioned that convention attendance may be declining over time and that San Diego should be looking toward “grabbing a bigger piece of the pie.” Cox suggested that instead of a fourth building, a better future plan might be to develop someplace else on the bay — like Chula Vista — and then link the use of the two projects. Burge and others envision over time a multiple-sports complex tied into the convention center.

Alliance Healthcare Foundation Plans
to Award $1 Million to 16 Organizations

Alliance Healthcare Foundation  announced today that it will fund 16 local organizations through its Mission Support Grants program with awards totaling $1 million. More than 80 nonprofit organizations applied for the grants program and 16 grants between $30,000 and $100,000 were awarded. Four of the 16 organizations that received grants valued at $100,000 each include:

ElderHelp of San Diego. Provides personalized services and information for San Diego’s population of seniors to help them remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes.

Environmental Health Coalition. Builds grassroots campaigns to confront the consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies.

Horn of Africa Community in North America. Community-based organization representing and advocating for the needs and opportunities of African refugees and immigrants in San Diego, with a particular emphasis on refugees from Somalia.

Somali Family Service of San Diego. Helps Somali and other African families in becoming responsible, independent and contributing members of San Diego through its programs that promote health, educational and economic success, and leadership efforts.

Other grant recipients: A New Path, Bayside Community Center, Info Line of San Diego County,  Neighborhood House Association, Operation Samahan Inc.; San Diego Organizing Project, San Diego Youth Services, Shakti Rising, St. Vincent de Paul Village Inc., Survivors of Torture International, UCSD Owen Clinic and UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project.

Small Business Contracting Opportunities

The HHA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will hold a small business community outreach and matchmaking event Friday at 8 a.m. in the Medical Education & Telemedicine Building at UC San Diego. The goal is to educate small businesses on how to pursue federal contract opportunities.

The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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