Details of a proposed MLS stadium in San Diego will soon be released, setting into motion what could be an interesting process for the facility’s backers.
A few details about San Diego’s MLS venture have already taken shape. The proposal is expected to be linked to a larger redevelopment in Mission Valley, where San Diego State University is planning a campus expansion that could take parts of the Qualcomm Stadium site. Included in that redevelopment would be a stadium with a maximum capacity of 30,000 that hosts both San Diego State football as well as the MLS franchise.
The MLS expansion team–which is being pursued by a group that is headed by Mike Stone of FS Investors–would fill something of a void in San Diego, which has just lost the NFL’s Chargers to Los Angeles. The Chargers’ move came after a tumultuous few months that ended with the team’s proposal for a new stadium/convention center was rejected by San Diego voters.
Thus far there have been signs of support for an MLS franchise in San Diego, and more discussions will take place once particulars are revealed on Monday. Yet, the value of the Qualcomm Stadium site creates some political questions for any plan, even if the dynamic is different than what was seen when the use hotel tax dollars for a new football stadium was debated. More from the San Diego-Union Tribune:
The larger question the folks pushing this will ask San Diego to consider:
Is it worth it to provide at “fair market value” the city’s vast (and last) piece of valuable land in Mission Valley for the purpose of a privately financed development that would include the aforementioned smallish stadium, significant park area, retail and housing projects plus 16 acres set aside for an NFL stadium (should one become necessary in the next several years)?
“Fair market value” in this case is a price determined by a third-party appraisal to be the as-is value of the land minus the services those acquiring the land would provide — i.e., development of park space, demolition of Qualcomm Stadium and the inherent eradication of the city’s stadium maintenance obligation.
Basically, is a land swap that relieves burden on the city and generates tax dollars a good deal?
Certainly, there is momentum for the San Diego proposal, and there could be even more buzz once the full details are made public. However, San Diego will have to consider the larger framework of how its agreement for the stadium take place, especially since it is tied to a larger redevelopment.
Simultaneously, San Diego is considering what will happen to Qualcomm Stadium. The facility is set to continue hosting college football through the 2018 season, but what happens to the stadium after that will likely depend on maintenance costs and the progress of the SDSU/MLS plan.