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SDSU Seeks To Buy, Lease Qualcomm Stadium Property

Qualcomm Stadium seen from above in this undated photo.
KPBS Staff
Qualcomm Stadium seen from above in this undated photo.
SDSU Seeks To Buy, Lease Qualcomm Stadium Property
San Diego State University issued a proposal Monday for the redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.

San Diego State University issued a proposal Monday for the redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.

The university is interested in buying or leasing 47 acres of land at the site to build a football stadium and expand the school’s campus. San Diego State officials met with Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Monday before discussing what they refer to as a two page position paper.

"Mayor Faulconer appreciated meeting with San Diego State University to hear their thoughts on Mission Valley," said Jen Lebron, Faulconer's press secretary, of the hour-long get-together. "As a proud Aztec, the mayor plans to keep an open dialogue with SDSU as well as meet with other stakeholders as he continues to review the initiative."


Faulconer has said it's important to keep the two sides talking so they can work out an agreement, and that it's important to find a permanent home for the Aztecs football program.

The school wants to buy or lease 12 acres of land to build a 35,000 seat football stadium that could be expanded to 40,000 seats. There would be 5,000 nearby parking spaces. San Diego State is interested in 35 additional acres for future school expansion. The university also wants to control all rights to all collegiate sporting events at the stadium.

There is no mention of sharing the stadium with an MLS soccer team. University officials say they would work with other developers to complete the site’s facelift, which could include housing, commercial space and a park.

FS Investors is proposing a $1 billion redevelopment that includes housing, commercial space, a river park and a soccer stadium that could be used by the university. School officials have repeatedly indicated the proposed soccer stadium is too small and doesn’t meet their needs to expand the school’s 240 acre campus.

RELATED: Petition Drive To Bring MLS To San Diego Gets Underway


Doug Manchester is also proposing to redevelop the site. His plan calls for Qualcomm Stadium to be renovated at a cost of $600 million.

Read the full SDSU proposal below:

"Founded in 1897, San Diego State University (SDSU) is San Diego’s oldest and largest university. It proudly graduated Academy Award winner Kathleen Kennedy, Mars Rover Scientist Jordan Evans, NASA Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Hasemyer, and Hall of Fame athletes Tony Gwynn and Marshall Faulk. Every day, our students, faulty, and staff harness their immense knowledge and talents to best serve the community and the broader society.

SDSU currently sits on only 238 acres. Quite small when compared to UCSD’s 2,140 acres. Land to grow in Mission Valley is necessary to expand research, tech transfer, collaboration space and other future needs so SDSU can continue to ascend toward our goal of becoming a top 50 public research institution. While striving to meet these goals, SDSU will continue to be an economic driver for the region by sending accomplished graduates into the local workforce, attracting business to the community to collaborate with our institution, providing incubator opportunities for entrepreneurs to get the startup opportunities needed, and other opportunities yet to be imagined.

Additionally, we have a timely need for an appropriately sized multi-use stadium that will present SDSU opportunities it has been unable to realize in Qualcomm Stadium. This has been anticipated for many years, and was a main factor when SDSU had many conversations with then Mayor Sanders about the university purchasing the Qualcomm site.

As important as a new stadium is for Aztec athletics today, the ability for the University to continue to expand in the coming decades is necessary to move to the highest level of NCAA athletics in the future. As SDSU looks to ascend and play with the likes of Pac-12 and Big 12 institutions, the University as a whole must mirror those schools academically.

The Mission Valley site is so much more than a multi-use stadium; it is a 230-acre opportunity for America’s Finest City to reimagine the heart of the city as the economic engine that powers its future. SDSU is committed to participating in a comprehensive development plan for the Qualcomm site through a transparent, competitive process that could result in educational opportunities, a quality river park, office, retail, and housing.

Therefore, at the request of the Mayor, below are seven points that are imperative to the future success of SDSU and San Diego, regardless of any current plans or initiatives for the Mission Valley site.

1) SDSU will purchase fee simple title or commit to a 99-year lease for a 12-acre multi-use stadium site. The 12-acre site will be free and clear of any development constraints for design and construction of multi-use stadium.

2) As SDSU does not intend to be the sole owner/lessee of the Qualcomm site, we know that there will be a partner of some kind. Any partner must agree to move forward with design and construction of a multi-use stadium within 90 days of land transfer. Failure of partner to participate forfeits any rights in stadium and allows SDSU to move forward with design and construction of multi-use stadium.

3) Per CSU regulations, a competitive process to pick the architect of record for the design of the multi-use stadium will begin upon agreement to begin stadium design and construction process. The design process will provide an up to 35,000 seat multi-use stadium that accounts for expansion to 40,000 seats.

4) SDSU must be granted unilateral ability to expand the stadium to 40,000 seats at any point in the future.

5) Appropriate parking (.27*maximum stadium capacity) will be constructed and opened at the date of the first full stadium event. Dedicated parking for the stadium adjacent to the facility that meets 50% of stated parking need, 25% within a two-block radius of the stadium and the other 25% may be spread throughout project. All spaces must be dedicated to stadium events when a full bowl event is scheduled.

6) The City will grant all rights emanating from SDSU sporting events and other collegiate sporting events at Qualcomm Stadium to SDSU and/or the appropriate collegiate event host.

7) SDSU will purchase fee simple title or ground lease 35 acres of developable land exclusive of stadium property for future University expansion."

Corrected: July 24, 2024 at 11:15 PM PDT
City News Service contributed to this report.