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San Diego State Announces River Park Plan For SDSU Mission Valley

A rendering of the SDSU West project, April 27, 2018.
San Diego State University
A rendering of the SDSU West project, April 27, 2018.

San Diego State University announced Wednesday a plan to redirect Murphy Canyon Creek's flow as part of its proposed redevelopment plan in Mission Valley.

Mission Valley is a floodplain, with occasional flooding from the San Diego River reaching into the parking lot at SDCCU Stadium when it rains. The proposal would divert the creek, which converges with the river near the stadium, to a more winding course with less potential for flooding. Builders would also raise the proposed project and its adjoining neighborhood above the floodplain using crushed concrete recycled from the old stadium.

"We're looking to pull green space from the river's ecosystem into the site," said Gordon Carrier of the architecture firm Carrier Johnson and Culture. "If open space is done right, it can inspire thoughtful development, which sets the tone for the whole site. There are few, if any, opportunities to influence a region like this plan can influence San Diego. Mission Valley is really the epicenter of the entire community, and it's immensely important to get it right."


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Tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and open green space would be built at a lower elevation than the raised project site, providing an undeveloped buffer zone for when the river overflows from rainfall.

"It will be green space and athletic fields 98 percent of the time," Carrier said, "but it will also be a floodplain occasionally. That's intentional."

An initiative on the November ballot known as SDSU West — which was proposed and is being trumpeted by a private group known as Friends of SDSU — would give the university the right to negotiate a purchase of the land from the city and move ahead with its redevelopment proposal.

That proposal also would include a new 35,000-seat stadium for Aztecs football and soccer, hotels, retail buildings and an academic campus.


A competing proposal on the ballot dubbed SoccerCity, which is being promoted by a private development group, calls for a redevelopment that would include mixed-use spaces, as well as a 23,500-seat professional soccer stadium that could be expanded to accommodate Aztecs football.

Corrected: May 27, 2024 at 8:19 AM PDT
Editor's Note: This story has been update to reflect the correct source of the river park plan, which is SDSU Mission Valley not SDSU West.