Interim Mayor, Chargers Meet Over Stadium, Convention Center Plans
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said Thursday he had a positive 30-minute meeting this week with the Chargers executive who is spearheading the NFL team's efforts to build a new stadium.
"I thought we actually had a positive conversation about what we could do collaboratively to make sure to make sure that we keep the Chargers in San Diego,'' Gloria said at his weekly media briefing. "I'm certainly committed to doing that. The city is committed to that.''
The Monday meeting with Mark Fabiani came a couple of weeks after the Chargers proposed to the California Coastal Commission an alternative to the city's plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center.
The city plan would have all of the expansion on the current site and give the center the largest amount of contiguous floor space on the West Coast.
The Chargers' proposal would limit the expansion at the convention center location but would add a new stadium a few blocks away that could also provide space for major gatherings.
The city's plan goes before the Coastal Commission next month for its final regulatory hurdle. The financing mechanism is being challenged in court.
Fabiani told City News Service that the team's alternative will come in handy if the city plan is rejected by the commission or loses in court.
'We put our idea out there,'' Fabiani said. "It's an alternative that hopefully the city will consider if needed.''
He also characterized the meeting as positive.
"Given everything on the interim mayor's plate, we felt lucky to get 30 minutes of his time,'' Fabiani said. "He gave his side and we gave ours.''
Fabiani said the bayfront location of the convention center could create problems before the Coastal Commission, and the current proposed stadium site — at an old bus yard near Petco Park — is outside the coastal zone.
He also said the Chargers were willing to put up $400 million toward the project.
Team officials are still deciding whether it is appropriate to formally present their plan at the Coastal Commission meeting, Fabiani said. He said the timing conflicts with the fall NFL owners meeting in Washington, D.C., which he is required to attend.
The Chargers have been looking for a home to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium for a decade.
With large available spaces in short supply around the region, several potential sites have been rejected over the years. The proposed East Village location presents a tight squeeze for an NFL stadium and would require environmental mitigation.
Gloria said the city's convention center plan has been publicly vetted and is ready for construction, while the Chargers' plan doesn't have specifics.
With the expansion representing the third phase of building on the convention center, the team's proposals could be a "Phase Four,'' Gloria said.