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Plenty of Discussion Remains in SDSU Stadium Site Negotiations

New SDSU Stadium rendering August 2019

There is still plenty of work to be done in negotiating a land sale for the proposed San Diego State University stadium plan, as SDSU and the city continue discussing details of a potential agreement.

SDSU is seeking to purchase 135 acres of the city-owned SDCCU Stadium site in San Diego’s Mission Valley, which it would redevelop through a project that includes a new stadium, a surrounding outpost for the university, affordable housing, a river park, and more. To this point, progress has been made in the negotiations, as the city and SDSU largely agree on the broad strokes of a potential deal that calls for SDSU to pay $87.7 million for the land, finance the construction of a 34-acre river park, and dedicate 10% of the planned 4,600 housing units to low-income residents, among other notable items.

However, given the complexities of the transaction, there is uncertainty about when the two sides could enter escrow, as the city and SDSU have many smaller, but still important details that need to be addressed. Representatives from both parties indicated that the negotiations have been productive during an information-only city council meeting Monday, though there are a number of points that the two sides have to iron out as negotiations continue. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“There are some outstanding issues that are still being negotiated, but we’ve made really good progress,” said Cybele Thompson, who is the city’s director of real estate assets. “Discussions continue. We’re still meeting every Tuesday and Thursday to work on these issues, and staff will likely need to return to council on specific policy issues. We’ll advise when we’re ready to come back for that.”…

For instance, San Diego State is requesting deviations from the city’s affordable housing requirements that may require additional council action. The university would prefer to work with state agencies to implement its affording housing commitments, as opposed to the San Diego Housing Commission as is normally required, university consultant and JMI executive John Kratzer said at the meeting.

“It’s a huge issue right now,” Kratzer said. “There were big meetings last Friday with folks from the Housing Commission. We expect to have an opinion on the right process in the next two weeks.”

In addition, city staff identified a handful of procedural steps required before escrow can commence, some steps lengthier than others. The city is waiting on San Diego State to submit revised versions of multiple contract attachments. And Thomspon, the city’s real estate director, said her team is working through a red-lined version of the main contract.

While the discussions face an uncertain timeline for escrow as these issues are ironed out, SDSU reportedly still believes that it can close the transaction in enough time to finish the stadium before the 2022 NCAA football season. The planned 35,000-seat stadium would host SDSU Aztecs football, and be designed to accommodate professional soccer matches and other events. SDSU football currently plays home games at SDCCU Stadium, an outdated facility that originally opened as San Diego Stadium in 1967 and previously hosted the NFL’s Chargers and MLB’s Padres.

Renderings via SDSU athletics.

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