In a move designed to ignite stadium talks, four San Diego City Council members are proposing a $1 per year, 99-year lease at Qualcomm Stadium for the San Diego Chargers.
While the team has said it is not making a decision until after the season, reports of the Chargers’ next move have been rampant in recent weeks. The Chargers have an option to move to Los Angeles that expires on January 15, 2017, and relocating has become a more tempting option in the weeks since San Diego voters resoundingly rejected a proposal for a downtown stadium/convention center.
Some San Diego officials, however, are showning a willingness to reengage with the Chargers. Four city council members–Scott Sherman, Chris Cate, Myrtle Cole, and Lorie Zapf–have outlined a proposal that calls for the Chargers to sign a 99-year lease for Qualcomm Stadium, which will come with an annual rent charge of $1. The agreement is structured to keep the team at the facility while talks take place about a new stadium in the city.
One issue, however, will be trying to come to a consensus on a site and funding model. Qualcomm Stadium and Mission Valley was previously ruled out as a solution by Chargers owner Dean Spanos, but some city councilmembers are hoping to have more conversations about alternatives could be pursued at that location. Additionally, some councilmembers desire a plan in which the Chargers and the NFL engage with a development partner to complete the construction of a facility. More from the AP (via ESPN):
In 2004, the Chargers failed in their attempt to get the city to give them a large chunk of the Qualcomm property in exchange for privately developing a stadium.
The cheap lease deal “is as close as getting the land given to you as possible,” Sherman said.
The Chargers walked away from talks with the city and county in June 2015 and focused on a plan to build a stadium in a Los Angeles suburb with the rival Oakland Raiders. That plan was defeated by NFL owners in January in favor of the Rams’ Inglewood plan, but the Chargers were given the option of moving to L.A. If they decide to move, they’ll have to make a deal with either the Coliseum or the 27,000-seat StubHub! Center as a temporary home.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has had private talks with Spanos and a team representative in recent weeks. Details of those talks weren’t made public.
“We need to hear from the organization what their concerns are, and if they’re even open to having a discussion for Mission Valley,” Cate told the AP. “These are things we need to hear from them about. The fans need to hear from them, too. What does success look like to them? We haven’t been able to have a discussion as a council with them. This lets them know we’re willing to have that conversation.”
The Chargers have called Qualcomm Stadium home since 1967, when it opened as San Diego Stadium.
Image courtesy San Diego Chargers.
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