San Diego SoccerCity Development On Hold — For Now

Proposed SoccerCity development San Diego

In a concession to reality, the backers of the proposed San Diego SoccerCity development — which includes a stadium for an expansion MLS franchise — are putting the plan on hold until voters are asked to green-light the proposal in November 2018.

The San Diego City Council last month scheduled a 2018 public referendum on a redevelopment of the 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site into Soccer City, which would include a new stadium (capacity dependent on whether San Diego State participates). Under the terms of the plan, an independent appraisal will determine the fair-market value of the 166-acre site, with FS Investors committing to paying 10 percent of the agreed-upon price annually. FS Investors would also commit to building a 33,500-seat stadium expandable to 40,000, with the cost split between FS Investors and SDSU. The proposed SoccerCity development features more than 2.4-million square feet of office space, 4,800 homes, two hotels and 800 student apartments on the 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site.

Those plans, however, are basically on hold until the November 2018 referendum, as the SoccerCity folks unveiled a new motto: “Wait for SD.” The message is not exactly a surprise and really meant more for local voters than for MLS. Indeed, the MLS expansion process has been pretty clear for months now: two expansion franchises will be awarded before the end of 2017, with a decision on two additional expansion franchises pushed into 2018. So the plan is to keep the referendum alive, per the Times of San Diego:

“There’s too much enthusiasm in the market to give up,” said Nick Stone, project manager for La Jolla-based FS Investors. “We think it’s worth fighting as hard as we can fight to secure a franchise.”

“No city in the Untied States is better suited for an MLS franchise than San Diego,” added, arguing that before the council vote, San Diego was at the top of the list for a new franchise….

Stone said the “Wait for SD” campaign would includes aggressive use of social media and stretch for 15 months, when the plan will be on the general election ballot.

Again, the press conference today was more for the locals than for MLS, which by all indications is happy to wait until fall 2018 to make a final decision on two more expansion teams.

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