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‘Soccer City’ Backers Have Enough Signatures To Put Project Before City Council
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Credit: FS Investors
Proponents of a "Soccer City" development in Mission Valley announced Wednesday that they've collected around 108,000 signatures, more than enough to force the San Diego City Council to either approve the project or place it before voters.
The signature harvest took less than two weeks of circulating petitions in support of the development, which would replace Qualcomm Stadium with commercial and office buildings, housing, a river park and a hybrid soccer-football stadium on the 166-acre site.
"The fact that so many San Diegans signed our petition in such a brief period of time (is) undeniable proof that our proposal — which will be privately funded without any taxpayer dollars — has broad public support," said Nick Stone, of the group behind the proposal, La Jolla-based FS Investors.
"The combination of a near-term river park, bringing a new, professional sport to the city, and the significant tax base this idea generates on behalf of taxpayers — who own the site — has clearly resonated with the people of San Diego," Stone said.
FS has applied for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise that would call the replacement stadium home. San Diego State would play football in the facility but school officials have expressed reservations over aspects of the plan. In fact, they have shared their own vision for the property with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
FS Investors said they plan to circulate the petitions for a few more days before submitting them to the city.
On Tuesday, some San Diego civic and business leaders announced they will try to convince the City Council to place the project before voters so it would receive a more thorough vetting.
If the council does opt for a public vote, it could take place in November since it would align with Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposal for a special election on a plan to fund expansion of the downtown convention center.
The convention center plan would require public approval because it would involve raising the hotel room tax.
The Qualcomm Stadium land went into play when the Chargers announced that they're leaving for Los Angeles.
FS Investors unveiled their plan in January. The company is led by Stone and includes former Qualcomm President Steve Altman along with Peter Seidler, a member of the Padres ownership group. They said they would pay fair market value for the land and prioritize the river park in the timeline.
Faulconer and other San Diego elected officials supported their efforts, though they've stopped short of formal endorsements.
Among other things, SDSU officials pose questions over how expensive it would be to expand the stadium in the future.
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