Convention Center’s new Sails Pavilion lights up the San Diego skyline

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SAN DIEGO -- Bright, bold colors flashed inside and out of the San Diego Convention Center’s new 90,000-square-foot Sails Pavilion Wednesday night.

The upgrade to LED lights was part of the unveiling of the pavilion's grand reopening.

“It’s really beautiful. I’m really happy that San Diego has something world-class like this,” said Cynthia Thornton, who lives downtown.

Since taking down the iconic white sails down in August, convention center staff say that after three decades, the rooftop replacement was long overdue.

But at first, some downtown residents were skeptical.

“It took a year to change all this. The sails actually looked the same and then we find out about the lighting, the ambiance and all the changes they're making here. It's well done. We’re very happy about it,” said Michael Keenan.

The changes were made possible thanks to a $25 million loan with infrastructure bank and cost a total of $16.7 million. The new improvements include the $10 million sail pavilion rooftop, a new concrete floor, a new fire safety system and LED lighting for events and holidays.

“Valentine's Day it could be red, St. Patrick’s Day it’s green, we’re gonna be able to do something when pride is here so we have a lot of themes we can do throughout the year,” said Clifford “Rip” Rippotore, president and CEO of the Convention Center.

Overall, the upgrades are just part of the greatest series of improvements since the expansion in 2000. The new sail pavilion rooftop is also expected to last 30 years.