An initiative for a $200 million soccer stadium as part of a $1 billion redevelopment on the current site of Qualcomm Stadium was proposed by a group of private investors Monday in an attempt to bring an MLS team to San Diego. Nick Stone, a partner in FS Investors, said the group plans to file an application for an MLS franchise by Jan. 31, and at about the same time begin a signature-gathering campaign to qualify an initiative for a 2018 city ballot. The facility would seat 20,000 to 30,000 fans and would be projected to open as early as 2020. The new facility could also be used by other soccer teams as well as the San Diego State University Aztec football team. Some of the proposals by FS Investors include:
Buy the 166-acre site from the city at fair market value, as determined by a third-party. The site has been estimated to be worth about $50 million in its present, unimproved condition;
Demolish 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium, relieving the city of the annual upkeep of about $12 million and about $100 million in deferred maintenance costs. The city still owes about $28 million on outstanding bonds;
Set aside about 15 acres for an NFL stadium to be built in the next five years if another city’s team wants to relocate and replace the Chargers, assuming the Chargers do not change their minds and want to move back;
Pay for a 55-acre San Diego River Park on the south side of the property;
Cover the costs of offsite traffic improvements associated with the development, as determined in an environmental analysis to accompany the citizens initiative, as well as on site infrastructure site development costs with details to be laid out in coming weeks; and,
Invite other developers to build housing, including about 800 beds for SDSU students, 10 percent of the remainder for low- and moderate-income renters; office space for SDSU and other tenants, including a possible million-square-foot corporate headquarters; one or more hotels; and related commercial and entertainment uses on the remainder of the property. The overall hope is to develop a transit-oriented development tied to the existing trolley line and one planned along Interstate 15.
Even prior to the Chargers recent move to Los Angeles, one that is still being met with great controversy even among NFL officials, much has been discussed over the future of Qualcomm Stadium, including possibly demolishing The Q after 2018. San Diego State, who recently were in talks to extend their Qualcomm Stadium lease until 2020, had also discussed the possibility of a satellite campus. The Chargers, with a contract with the city of San Diego through 2020, still owe the city a $12 million buyout for early contract termination.
Talks have begun with the San Diego Padres to temporarily house the SDSU Aztecs, as well as the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls at Petco Park should Qualcomm Stadium make way for the wrecking ball in 2018. “We’re not going to let Division I football disappear,” Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said Monday.
One issue with Petco Park being home to Aztecs games is the overlap of the college football and baseball seasons. The National Funding Holiday Bowl and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl are played in December, well after baseball season has concluded.
"As it relates to San Diego State, we’re probably the last option,” Fowler said. “… I think downtown might be a better option for the Holiday Bowl.”