We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #4: SDSU launches its pitch for a new stadium.
The biggest chapter in the history of football in San Diego closed in January, when the Chargers made the inevitable official and moved from dilapidated Qualcomm Stadium up north on the I-5 to Los Angeles.
But the stadium saga at the Mission Valley location was far from over, and will continue its uncertain path well into 2018.
The 70,000-seat stadium, built in the mid-1960s, changed its name in 2017 to SDCCU Stadium (San Diego County Credit Union), and it still retains a major tenant: The Aztecs of San Diego State University (SDSU). Now, with the Chargers gone, the school has taken up the quest to bring the site into the 21st century.
After flirting with a partnership with the SoccerCity stadium proposal in early 2017, SDSU divorced itself from that plan and has launched its own bid to get a proposal that includes the $250 million Aztec Stadium on the ballot for a public vote in 2018.
Called SDSU Mission Valley, the project would include a new 35,000-seat stadium for SDSU football. The stadium would also have the ability to accommodate professional soccer, and offer the capability to be expanded if an NFL team were ever to be placed in San Diego.
Among its other features, SDSU Mission Valley would include two hotels, about 1.6 million square feet of office space, over 4,500 housing units, roughly 95,000 square feet of retail, and a 50-acre community river park. SDSU officials said the school is prepared to acquire the city-owned land at fair market value.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand the university in a location that is both close to the main campus and large enough to accommodate the university’s growth needs,” SDSU President Sally Roush said in a statement in late November. “It is a plan with the heart and spirit of a modern university campus that will serve higher education and the community’s aspirations for the site.”
A citizen’s initiative for a stadium and development project was unveiled in September, and the university revealed drawings for the stadium and surrounding campus development in early December. The stadium, being designed by the renowned architecture firm, Populous, would be set to open by 2022.
“SDSU fans have long dreamed of a day we would return Aztec football to campus,” athletic director John David Wicker told a crowd at SDCCU Stadium when the stadium proposal was unveiled. “That final journey begins today.”
SDSU plans to finance the stadium through a variety of revenue streams, including money generated by the venue and donations, rather than traditional funding sources, such as state funds or student fees.
If the initiative collects the necessary amount of about 71,000 signatures, it would be placed on the November, 2018, ballot, alongside the SoccerCity initiative. Whichever plan receives the most votes would proceed forward.
Renderings courtesy San Diego State University and Populous.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List: