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Downtown Partnership Endorses Chargers' Stadium Plan

An undated illustration of a proposed Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego.
San Diego Chargers
An undated illustration of a proposed Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership, which represents downtown organizations and property owners, today endorsed Measure C, which would provide a framework for building a Chargers football stadium and convention center annex.

The partnership joined the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in backing the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot.

"This is no rush to judgment," said Frank Urtasun, the partnership's board chairman.

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"The partnership held three public forums, 13 meetings and met with 26 individuals representing 14 organizations," said Urtasun, regional vice president of San Diego Gas & Electric. "From those meetings, we came up with a considered set of conditions that the Chargers have agreed to resolve. That's why over 75 percent of our board supported this position."

Measure C, if approved by two-thirds of voters, would raise San Diego's hotel room tax to help pay for the project, which has an estimated price tag of $1.8 billion.

The levy is currently 10.5 percent, with a separate 2 percent fee that funds tourism marketing. Measure C would raise the tax to a total of 16.5 percent.

The Chargers and National Football League would kick in a combined $650 million toward the project. Team officials said the combined facility would not only result in a state-of-the-art football stadium, but space that could be used for around 300 days a year.

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Kris Michell, the partnership's president and CEO, said her coalition has a long history of supporting "large iconic projects and a sports and entertainment district downtown," and believes the Chargers' project is representative of both.

"Vibrant downtowns attract young, talented entrepreneurs, international visitors and business professionals alike," Michell said. "A joint-use football stadium and convention center facility will put San Diego on the world stage and contribute to the year-round vibrancy enjoyed by world-class urban centers."

Tony Manolatos, a spokesman for Measure C opponents, pointed out that Councilmen David Alvarez, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman, plus Councilman-elect Chris Ward, are all against the initiative.

"Measure C is a bad deal for San Diego," Manolatos said. "It would divert more than $1 billion in new taxes to a stadium project and subsidize a NFL franchise worth more than $2 billion. Anyone who says it's a good deal for San Diego is more interested in politics than good public policy."

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not stated a position on Measure C.

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