A New Stadium Downtown?

While the idea does not really exist in any reports, the idea has been thrown around that a good location for a new Chargers football stadium might be next to the Padres ballpark in downtown San Diego.

Dozens of cities have matched two pro sports facilities nestled together to revitalize downtown areas. The idea is facilities can share parking and other infrastructure while building a "sports district" which holds shops, bars and restaurants among other entertainment venues. The downtown than becomes a bigger hub for tourism and the local economy.

"It can work to the extent you can leverage other uses going on 24/7 downtown," Fred Coons, director of business development for NBBJ Sports &Entertainment in Marina del Rey said.

Coons was in San Diego on Wednesday for the annual America Planning Association convention and he was a speaker for the function.

Mark Fabiani, special counsel to Chargers President Dean Spanos has said, "The team owners have made it clear they'd like a new stadium and are willing to consider any site in the city as long as it serves the needs of the team and the fans."

Fabiani also stated, "A downtown park would be interesting in a lot of ways." Fabiani did not attend the planning conference.

The problem is land around the current Qualcomm structure would be considerably cheaper. The market in downtown San Diego is booming.

Before the Padres new ballpark was approved in 1998, land in that area, called East Village, sold for about $20 a square foot. Now it goes for more than $100, City Councilman Byron Wear said.

Wear also believes that an indoor sports arena for a basketball team or hockey team is much more feasible, and could become a reality in the next decade.

The positive is that San Diego and its officers are looking for an economically feasible solution and broadening their scope of possibilities. This is still a long way from over and the team still wants a new upscale stadium. When it becomes a reality will ultimately decide the fate of football in San Diego.

Not helping matter is that as of Wednesday there were 15,000 seats still available for intra-division rivals Kansas City. Hot off the heels of a loss, are San Diegans merely fair weather fans? Selling out the stadium now will go a long way in determining the future of the franchise.

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