Potential Qualcomm Stadium Sale Terms Revealed

San Diego MLS Stadium rendering

Details have emerged on how FS Investors could acquire the Qualcomm Stadium site for an MLS stadium and a proposed development.

FS Investors is seeking to advance its proposal, which calls for a stadium for an MLS expansion franchise to be constructed as part of the proposed SoccerCity development at the Qualcomm Stadium site. If the language of a measure becomes a reality, the group would acquire 79.9 acres for $10,000, or roughly $125 per acre, if certain costs–including demolition of the current stadium and adding infrastructure–comes out ahead of the land’s appraised value.

One of the key sticking points for San Diego’s effort is timing. The city has an intriguing case for the MLS, but is looking to have a deal in place that would allow the stadium to open by 2020–when the league is expected to add a pair of franchises from this round of expansion.

The voter initiative is written in a way that would allow the plan to avoid a special referendum, which could slow down the proposal. Instead, officials are hoping to gather enough signatures through the initiative to receive city council approval in June. That has factored into how much property would be acquired for the project, and officials are still sorting out the exact value of the site. However, $10,000 could take effect depending upon the cost of related work at the site. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

SoccerCity’s promoters, FS Investors of La Jolla, have structured the deal to transfer control of the land under a 99-year lease and allow FS to purchase building sites in phases over time.

The sale price would be linked to the fair market value, yet to be determined, but it would have to take into account the cost of demolishing Qualcomm, estimated at perhaps $15 million, and other environmental issues and other problems, such as flooding and habitat preservation. Also taken into consideration would be the potential of setting aside room for an NFL stadium,  and other “extraordinary costs.”

If these conditions reduce “the fair market value…(to) a negative number,” the initiative says, then FS would be required to pay the city $10,000 as a one-time lease payment.

Various recent estimates of the land value have ranged from zero in its present condition to $3 million per acre, or $240 million for the 79.9 acres once infrastructure was in place. FS is not seeking all 166 acres at Qualcomm to avoid a city charter requirement that sales of 80 acres or more of city land require voter approval. The leftover land remaining in city hands would be used for roads, parks and other public purposes.

San Diego is one of 12 markets in the mix for an MLS expansion franchise.

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