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Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project

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February 24, 2016 1:12 p.m.

Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project

GUEST:

Fred Maas, special advisor, Chargers Stadium Initiative Project

Related Story: Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Good afternoon. I am Tom Fudge filling in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Our top story on Midday Edition, on Tuesday the San Diego Chargers made clear something they'd intimated for a long time, if they are staying in San Diego they want a downtown Stadium. Reaction from the Mayor's office was little warm. Mayor Faulconer prefers a Stadium on the old site saying building downtown would be more expensive and time-consuming. Joining me this morning to explain what the team is after is Fred mass. Fred is the Chargers special advisor to the Stadium initiative project. Thank you very much for joining us.
Tom, it's a pleasure to be here.
Why do the Chargers prefer downtown over Mission Valley?
We spent the last few weeks exploring her options and looking at what the alternatives may be. There were no easy solutions under any circumstances. We tried to take a step back, look at what the possibility might be and after a fair amount of thought and deliberation leave that the greatest opportunity in downtown would be to create something that was special for the team, our fans, and the community. It's akin to what we propose back in my day with the city several years ago when I was with Jerry Sanders representative.
What would that look like will be a combination of Stadium and something else? Back the plan that was so enticing is to really create a life experience that we discussed a long time ago that would be a convention center, the convention space, it would be a Stadium and a multiuse. But it would be really created in the whole east end of downtown.
Sorry to interrupt let me ask you this. San Diego attorney Cory Briggs wrote an initiative that he is trying to get on the ballot that would fund a noncontiguous convention center expansion downtown tell me how does that relate to the Chargers efforts to get a downtown Stadium.
It is certainly part of our considerations of what we have to deal with. There are a number of issues in his initiative that we are exploring. We've been having conversations with Jamia to integrate our Stadium into a noncontiguous convention space. My hope had always been before worked with the Chargers my worked at the city that we would be a big enough city to be a contiguous convention space, a noncontiguous, and a football Stadium downtown. And we should keep our eyes open to the possibilities.
It sounds like you're trying to appear the Stadium to get it conjoined with a noncontiguous state convention center is that right?
We believe there are certain synergies including convention space along with the Stadium that would accommodate much more.
Fred Maas, let me put you will be heard from Mayor Faulconer and County supervisor Ron Roberts yesterday when they responded with the Chargers had to say. Here is what they said. Building a downtown Stadium on land not owned by either the city or the Chargers would increase costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and take years longer to complete. They went on to say that it remains unclear how the Chargers intend to finance a downtown Stadium. What is your response?
I have a lot of respect for both supervisor Roberts and the Mayor. There both gentlemen I have enjoyed a strong relationship with over the last several years. We are very appreciative of all the hard work you have done. We also appreciate their commitment to Mission Valley. We looked at issues in Mission Valley as well as issues downtown. We realize their financing issues with both. But at the end of the day when we explore the two options presented to us, we believe that we can create the best experience not just for the team and for the fans, but for the greater community. We try to do the best risk assessment we could but believed then and now that the best opportunity will be to pursue something downtown.
Well, let me ask you, how to the Chargers plan to pay for the project? And how much do you propose San Diego taxpayers pick up?
Again, we've not presented to finance plan. We've just made decision to go forward. There were a number of decisions we had to make between now and March 24. We're in the process right now of composing a finance plan to accommodate this. I can tell you this, at least from some of the private discussions we've had with the Mayor and the NFL, what we're proposing on our side is literally hundreds of millions more than the league and the team were proposing when I was representing the city. I want full anybody and there will have to be some sort of public component or twitter space component. The good news, Tom, is that will be for the voters to decide. While we may suggest some things, really what we will talk about most likely is not San Diego residents most likely unless they stay in a hotel, visitors to San Diego who have to pay something. Again, I don't want to be. -- Premature. We're looking through all that. But we think there are interesting projects.
I know a lot of San Diego's folks were disappointed with the teams discussion to move to LA. Do you think you can commence the taxpayers to give them money, especially if it's a two thirds vote that is required?
I am not sure I would have phrased your question exactly the way you phrased it, Tom. I think there is some opinion within the context of your question. Do I think that is essential that we keep the team in San Diego? Absolutely. It's part of the fabric of who we are. They say that someone who is not a season ticket holder, I think it's very important that as a community, I also say that before I accepted this responsibility and Dean Spano's made the commitment to me personally that he is actually committed to being here in finding a solution to whatever it took to get a resolution one way or another. I accept that. Lastly, people need to understand that what we are talking about, and what is very different about downtown as opposed to Mission Valley, is it has benefits year round not just days a year. If we make a case prettily improperly, we will give it osers a chance to say yes or no. That is so what -- that is what is so did unique about this. If we make our case fine if we don't, so be it. I wouldn't be arguing if I didn't think we could make a credible argument why it's good for all San Diegans if you are football fan or not.
Fred Maas , with Chargers Stadium Initiative Project , think you for joining us.
It's been my pleasure.