After making some requested changes to the expansion plans to suit the California Coastal Commission, the project received unanimous approval.
One of the requested changes was for a pedestrian bridge from the Convention Center to the Gaslamp Quarter. Anyone who has attended SDCC and been forced to deal with traffic, especially for the trains will know just how nice a feature this will be. I remember this year, right when the convention was letting out one evening, a cargo train spent several minutes passing with its hundreds of cars and the thousands of people filtered out of the convention were crammed onto the sidewalk, not permitted to go back or forward. A pedestrian bridge would prevent such a dangerous situation again and allow pedestrian traffic through the day to flow more smoothly. As of now, the only pedestrian crossing is down at the south end, past where the expansion will take place.
The expansion itself will add 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, increasing the overall space by 35% and adding a new 80,000 square foot ballroom (that's 20% bigger than the current Hall H). With this new ballroom, that may alleviate some of the stress and lines for Hall H and Ballroom 20.
It also adds a second tower to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, which will bring 500 more hotel rooms right next to the Convention Center. This means you might have 1% less stress booking a hotel room for SDCC in a few years.
The project is due to be completed by 2018 assuming they don't hit any further roadblocks or have trouble overcoming the few additional hurdles over the next few years. This will also mean heavy construction at the south end of the convention center for the next few years, so things may get a bit worse before they get better for SDCC.
Just a few days ago, news hit that the San Deigo Chargers planned to fight the expansion because it interferred with their own plans to expand Qualcomm stadium. With the SDCC expansion having already been approved by the City Commision and Unified Port District, as well as having signed an extention with Comic-Con based on the expansion, the Coastal Commision hearing yesterday was the last hurdle for approval. I like to tell myself that one of the key questions the council asked of the Chargers was how many Superbowl rings they had. With the answer of zero, the nerds won the day. Suck it jocks!