Investor Group Wants To Bring MLS To San Diego
A group of investors unveiled a proposal Monday for a $1 billion redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley, which would include a privately financed football and soccer stadium, along with a 55- acre park, housing and commercial buildings.
The concept was released by FS Investors of La Jolla less than two weeks after the Chargers announced plans to relocate to Los Angeles. The project envisions a stadium of 20,000-30,000 seats for a Major League Soccer franchise and San Diego State's football team, but a larger facility could be constructed if Chargers owner Dean Spanos changes his mind or another NFL franchise moves to San Diego.
Michael Stone of FS Investors leads a group that includes former Qualcomm President Steve Altman and Peter Seidler, part of the Padres ownership group. They plan to apply for an MLS expansion franchise by the Jan. 31 deadline, and start a campaign to get official approval for the project — either from the City Council or a public vote next year.
"San Diego is a soccer town and deserves a Major League soccer team," Stone said. "Soccer is the world's most popular sport and we'd like nothing more than to bring it — with all its excitement and pageantry — to one of the world's greatest cities."
Stone noted that San Diego had the second-highest television ratings in the U.S. for the men's World Cup soccer final in 2014.
The developers said the project would include student housing, shops, bars and live music venues. The group also plans to create a youth soccer academy.
"This is an exciting concept that could welcome major league soccer to San Diego without public subsidy, provide a home for Aztecs football and create a long-awaited river park," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "I look forward to seeing the final plan."
Under the plan, FS Investors would purchase the 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium property at a price to be determined by an independent appraisal. The aging arena would be knocked down, and a new one costing an estimated $200 million would rise in its place, with construction costs to be split with SDSU.
"We have been engaged in discussions (with FS Investors)," said Gina Jacobs, a spokeswoman for SDSU. "We received the proposal at the same time it was released. We're reviewing it and are excited to see what the rest of the proposal is."
She said the university's priorities are finding new room for student housing, developing research facilities and creating a home for the Aztecs football program. SDSU would prefer a stadium with between 30,000 and 40,000 seats, she said.