Fentress | Portman Team Wins Design for San Diego Convention Center Bayside Expansion

Fentress' convention center design features 5 acres of waterfront public space and the largest exhibit hall and largest ballroom west of the Mississippi River

Dec 01, 2010, 04:00 ET from Fentress Architects

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Fentress Architects and John Portman & Associates, a collaboration of international, award-winning design firms, have won the national design team selection process for Phase 3 of the San Diego Convention Center. The Fentress | Portman team's proposed conceptual design for the bayside expansion creates a sustainable 5-acre waterfront public space and the largest exhibit hall and largest ballroom west of the Mississippi River. Fentress Architects has studios in Los Angeles and San Jose.

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Efficient Design | Fentress' design will provide significant savings to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation in construction and operating costs. It reduces the building mass and volume of a prior conceptual design by approximately 38 percent while meeting all other program requirements.  The expansion will add an 80,000-square-foot ballroom, 100,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, creating 750,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. Portman, which designed the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel, will design a new 250- to 500-room hotel near the expansion.

Fentress will team with a San Diego architectural firm for the convention center project. City officials hope approvals for the project's environmental review and funding plan will be completed in 2011 with review by the California Coastal Commission completed in 2012 so construction could begin in 2013 and be operational in 2015. The design team is aiming for LEED Gold certification.

San Diego officials praised Fentress' design, calling it "fantastic."

"The Convention Center continues to be one of San Diego's strongest assets driving jobs, tax revenues and economic benefits, all of which will significantly increase when the building expands, and Fentress' design will take us there," said Jerry Sanders, San Diego Mayor.  

"We look forward to elevating San Diego to one of the top convention centers in the United States, while providing sustainable waterfront public space for the citizens of San Diego," said Curtis Fentress, principal-in-charge of design, Fentress Architects, recipient of the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award.

Fentress Architects has over 30 years of experience in convention center design, including award-winning facilities in Denver, Palm Springs, and two of the first LEED Gold convention centers in the U.S.—Santa Fe and Pasadena.

Giant Economic Engine | San Diego's expansion could create more than 6,500 permanent jobs and generate an additional $17.1 million annually, according to the Mayor's Citizen's Task Force. Officials estimate the expansion would provide an annual economic impact of $698 million for local businesses and the city, in addition to the center's current $1.3 billion impact. The majority of construction jobs are expected to be awarded to local subcontractors.

Waterfront Public Space | Listening to San Diego citizen's desire for more green space, Fentress' conceptual design creates 5 acres of waterfront public space and 30,000 square feet of retail space along a waterfront promenade. With 360-degree views of downtown, Coronado and the San Diego Bay, the public space will be ideal for picnics, music festivals, public art and special events for the San Diego community and convention-goers. Civitas, a leader in landscape architecture and urban design, will be involved in the landscape design.

Fentress Architects is an international design firm that passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic public architecture. Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, was honored in 2010 by the American Institute of Architects with the highest award for public architecture, the Thomas Jefferson Award. He has designed $26 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by 300 million people each year. Designs by Fentress have been honored with more than 350 awards and accolades for innovation and design excellence. Founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980, Fentress Architects has design studios in Los Angeles, San Jose, Denver, and Washington, D.C. Visit us online at www.fentressarchitects.com.

SOURCE Fentress Architects