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Convention Center

Five finalists will compete to provide full design services for the proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

Five architectural design teams, comprised of award-winning local and national architectural and design professionals, have been invited by the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (SDCCC) to submit conceptual design studies and fee proposals to provide full design services for the proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.


In June, the SDCCC issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) inviting local and national architectural and design professionals to submit detailed information on their work, including those on major civic projects.

The five finalists were selected from a total of 13 teams that responded to the RFQ. The goal is to identify a design team consisting of an architect/master planner, engineers and technical advisors most qualified to deliver a programming solution which meets the objectives of the SDCCC in an outstanding architectural and planning expression.

“The architectural teams chosen to present conceptual design studies have a demonstrated track record of success working on major civic projects including convention and meeting facilities,” said Charles Black, SDCCC’s project manager for the proposed expansion.
The five teams invited to respond to the RFP, which outlines the goals and requirements of the project including characteristics of the proposed site, regulatory requirements and constraints, public input gathered to date, sustainable design elements and public realm requirements are as follows

• Gensler in association with Steven Brubaker
• Howard, Needles, Tammen and Bergendoff California Architects, P.C. (HNTB) in association with Tucker Sadler Architects and Joseph Wong Design Associates
• LMN in association with Carrier Johnson and Hornberger + Worstell
• Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)
• Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Inc. (tvsdesign) in association with Martinez + Cutri and ARCHITECTS hanna gabriel wells.

“We are looking to select a world-class design team to build on this iconic and hugely successful facility that has attracted millions of attendees to San Diego and serves as the foundation of our regional hospitality industry,” said Carol Wallace, SDCCC president and CEO. “As the mayor’s citizen task force on the convention center project convened by Mayor Sanders found, an expansion will further our ability to create jobs and economic development throughout the region.”

To assist in evaluating the five conceptual designs, the SDCCC has enlisted the expertise of regional facility design, development and planning professionals.

Professionals such as:

  • C. Boone Hellmann, FAIA, associate vice-chancellor for facilities design and construction, and campus architect at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • Eric Naslund, FAIA, design principal and partner at Studio E Architects in San Diego, Calif.
  • Sal Ochoa, senior project architect, San Diego Unified Port District
  • Tom Sullivan, VP of development for the Irvine Company’s San Diego region

Mr. Hellmann joined UCSD in 1985 as an associate architect and was named an assistant vice chancellor in 1988. As UCSD’s campus architect, he is adept at interacting with and managing world-class design teams.

Naslund has twice been the Kea Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland. He is currently the chairman of the San Diego planning commission and serves on the editorial board of arcCA (Architecture California).

Ochoa has been with the Port since 1995 where he manages the development of Port and tenant projects, primarily in the Embarcadero area.

Sullivan has managed development projects in San Diego since 1986 including San Diego’s Omni Hotel and One America Plaza. He has worked extensively with internationally-renowned design professionals.

Other professionals include
• Carol Wallace, president & CEO, SDCCC
• Brad Gessner, general manager, SDCCC
• Tom Delaney, president, Springline Associates, design team selection advisor
• Charles E. Black, president, CB Urban Development, project manager

A detailed timeline of the selection process is provided below. A selection committee will oversee the entire process, and at the conclusion, will make a recommendation to the SDCCC board of directors to vote on approval of the final contract.

Selection process schedule
• Individual team mid-point review meeting, Sept. 16-17
• RFP submittals due, Oct. 5
• Presentations to technical advisory committee, Oct. 13-14
• Team selection, Oct. 22

Acclaimed Canadian architect Arthur Erickson of Vancouver, BC, led the design team for the original building in association with San Diego architect Ward Deems of Deems Lewis & Partners.

The building opened in November 1989. The expansion, which opened in September of 2001, was designed by Tucker Sadler & Associates, teamed with Boston-based HNTB architect Don Grinberg under a design-build contract with Turner Construction.
The SDCCC manages, markets and operates the San Diego Convention Center. In its 20-year history, the facility has proven to be a vital economic engine generating $18 billion in regional economic benefits and $360 million in tax dollars for the City of San Diego.

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