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San Diego: Mission Valley Chargers stadium site works

Proposed San Diego Chargers stadium

Mission Valley — at the current Qualcomm Stadium site — has emerged as the preferred location of a new San Diego Chargers stadium, but plenty of issues need to be addressed before that first shovel of dirt is turned.

A new stadium is key to keeping the Chargers in San Diego: the team has purchased land in Carson (in the greater Los Angeles area) but is still working with San Diego officials on a new-stadium plan. After there were issues with the Chargers’ preferred site — downtown San Diego, in the Petco Park/convention center area — the city then moved onto the current Qualcomm Stadium site. Makes sense: there’s infrastructure in place, and the area is ripe for more development, so the mayor’s task force on a new stadium settled on Mission Valley.

But while the site may seem to have lots of advantages, there’s a key disadvantage: there’s no financial plan. The Chargers and the NFL will put up $200 million each for a new stadium, which should be enough t0 get the ball rolling. But there will probably need to be other money in the plan (despite what the mayor’s task force says, $400 million may not be enough for an new open-air stadium, even with free land in the mix), and there are some other costs, like abatement, that may come into play. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Real estate consultant Gary London, who has studied the Qualcomm site previously, called it San Diego’s premier asset with untold potential.

“This project needs to be master planned as a 21st century, highly dense tribute to its location in almost the geographic center of the city,” London said.

But land use attorney Cory Briggs, who represents environmentalists and good-government groups, sees large stumbling blocks ahead.

“It’s got to be good environmentally and financially,” Briggs said, “and if it’s bad either way, my clients are going to tell me to do everything I can to stop it. We remain open minded but we’re not fools.”

California development is challenging, especially if we’re talking a large development. So expect lots of politics over the issue in the next year. Task force officials expect a 2020 opening.

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August Publications