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Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project

Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project
Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project GUEST: Fred Maas, special advisor, Chargers Stadium Initiative Project

Good afternoon. I am Tom Fudge filling in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Our top story on Midday Edition, on Tuesday the San Diego Chargers made clear something they'd intimated for a long time, if they are staying in San Diego they want a downtown Stadium. Reaction from the Mayor's office was little warm. Mayor Faulconer prefers a Stadium on the old site saying building downtown would be more expensive and time-consuming. Joining me this morning to explain what the team is after is Fred mass. Fred is the Chargers special advisor to the Stadium initiative project. Thank you very much for joining us. Tom, it's a pleasure to be here. Why do the Chargers prefer downtown over Mission Valley? We spent the last few weeks exploring her options and looking at what the alternatives may be. There were no easy solutions under any circumstances. We tried to take a step back, look at what the possibility might be and after a fair amount of thought and deliberation leave that the greatest opportunity in downtown would be to create something that was special for the team, our fans, and the community. It's akin to what we propose back in my day with the city several years ago when I was with Jerry Sanders representative. What would that look like will be a combination of Stadium and something else? Back the plan that was so enticing is to really create a life experience that we discussed a long time ago that would be a convention center, the convention space, it would be a Stadium and a multiuse. But it would be really created in the whole east end of downtown. Sorry to interrupt let me ask you this. San Diego attorney Cory Briggs wrote an initiative that he is trying to get on the ballot that would fund a noncontiguous convention center expansion downtown tell me how does that relate to the Chargers efforts to get a downtown Stadium. It is certainly part of our considerations of what we have to deal with. There are a number of issues in his initiative that we are exploring. We've been having conversations with Jamia to integrate our Stadium into a noncontiguous convention space. My hope had always been before worked with the Chargers my worked at the city that we would be a big enough city to be a contiguous convention space, a noncontiguous, and a football Stadium downtown. And we should keep our eyes open to the possibilities. It sounds like you're trying to appear the Stadium to get it conjoined with a noncontiguous state convention center is that right? We believe there are certain synergies including convention space along with the Stadium that would accommodate much more. Fred Maas, let me put you will be heard from Mayor Faulconer and County supervisor Ron Roberts yesterday when they responded with the Chargers had to say. Here is what they said. Building a downtown Stadium on land not owned by either the city or the Chargers would increase costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and take years longer to complete. They went on to say that it remains unclear how the Chargers intend to finance a downtown Stadium. What is your response? I have a lot of respect for both supervisor Roberts and the Mayor. There both gentlemen I have enjoyed a strong relationship with over the last several years. We are very appreciative of all the hard work you have done. We also appreciate their commitment to Mission Valley. We looked at issues in Mission Valley as well as issues downtown. We realize their financing issues with both. But at the end of the day when we explore the two options presented to us, we believe that we can create the best experience not just for the team and for the fans, but for the greater community. We try to do the best risk assessment we could but believed then and now that the best opportunity will be to pursue something downtown. Well, let me ask you, how to the Chargers plan to pay for the project? And how much do you propose San Diego taxpayers pick up? Again, we've not presented to finance plan. We've just made decision to go forward. There were a number of decisions we had to make between now and March 24. We're in the process right now of composing a finance plan to accommodate this. I can tell you this, at least from some of the private discussions we've had with the Mayor and the NFL, what we're proposing on our side is literally hundreds of millions more than the league and the team were proposing when I was representing the city. I want full anybody and there will have to be some sort of public component or twitter space component. The good news, Tom, is that will be for the voters to decide. While we may suggest some things, really what we will talk about most likely is not San Diego residents most likely unless they stay in a hotel, visitors to San Diego who have to pay something. Again, I don't want to be. -- Premature. We're looking through all that. But we think there are interesting projects. I know a lot of San Diego's folks were disappointed with the teams discussion to move to LA. Do you think you can commence the taxpayers to give them money, especially if it's a two thirds vote that is required? I am not sure I would have phrased your question exactly the way you phrased it, Tom. I think there is some opinion within the context of your question. Do I think that is essential that we keep the team in San Diego? Absolutely. It's part of the fabric of who we are. They say that someone who is not a season ticket holder, I think it's very important that as a community, I also say that before I accepted this responsibility and Dean Spano's made the commitment to me personally that he is actually committed to being here in finding a solution to whatever it took to get a resolution one way or another. I accept that. Lastly, people need to understand that what we are talking about, and what is very different about downtown as opposed to Mission Valley, is it has benefits year round not just days a year. If we make a case prettily improperly, we will give it osers a chance to say yes or no. That is so what -- that is what is so did unique about this. If we make our case fine if we don't, so be it. I wouldn't be arguing if I didn't think we could make a credible argument why it's good for all San Diegans if you are football fan or not. Fred Maas , with Chargers Stadium Initiative Project , think you for joining us. It's been my pleasure.

Chargers Plan To Pursue Downtown San Diego Stadium Project
In a Tuesday statement, the Chargers said they will pursue a stadium project in downtown San Diego, rejecting a proposed replacement for Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley.

The Chargers will pursue a stadium project in downtown San Diego, rejecting a proposed replacement for Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, the team said in a statement Tuesday.

The decision to pursue the downtown stadium, in conjunction with an expanded Convention Center, comes after a series of meetings with city and county officials.

The team said its goal is to win voter approval at the ballot box this November for the project. The city already spent more than $2 million planning for a stadium on the current Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.


"We believe that a downtown multi-use facility will attract broad support from throughout our entire community," the team said in the statement.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the arguments for Mission Valley were compelling in many respects.

"At the same time, we have considered the potential benefits to both the greater San Diego region and the Chargers of a multi-use stadium/convention center facility downtown," Fabiani said.

"The multi-use facility, when combined with Petco Park, the existing convention center, the Gaslamp Quarter and a revitalized East Village, would create an unparalleled entertainment and sports district that will host Super Bowls and will ideally be a permanent home for Comic-Con and a Comic-Con museum," he said. "All of our research demonstrates that voters are more likely to approve a multi-use facility that would generate economic activity on hundreds of days per year, including by attracting major sporting and convention events that San Diego cannot now host."

Fabiani said a downtown project would free up the Mission Valley site for potential use by San Diego State University and UC San Diego, both of which have eyed the property for years for expansion. The Qualcomm stadium site could also be used for a large riverfront park.


A coalition that includes former Councilwoman Donna Frye, lawyer Cory Briggs and the development firm of ex-Padres owner John Moores formed last year to push such a project. Their plans include building more convention center space not attached to the existing facility, so it wouldn't be the contiguous expansion sought by tourism officials.

The decision came after two weeks of talks between Chargers representatives, and negotiators for the city and county of San Diego — including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Supervisor Ron Roberts.

Prior to those talks, National Football League owners voted to let the Rams return to Los Angeles, and rejected a joint proposal by the Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build a stadium in Carson.

The Chargers, which have a one-year option to be the second team, along with the Rams, in a future stadium in Inglewood, subsequently announced they would play the 2016 season in San Diego while trying to find a local solution to the stadium quandary.

Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Roberts released the following joint statement on the Chargers decision:

“We want the Chargers to remain in San Diego. After consulting with numerous experts on stadium financing and conducting a large-scale public outreach effort last year we proposed a straight-forward plan to finance a modern NFL stadium at the existing Mission Valley site. That plan would build a new stadium without raising taxes.

Most experts we’ve talked to have concluded that building a stadium Downtown – on land not owned by either the City or the Chargers – would increase costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and take years longer to complete.

However, it now appears that the Chargers intend to pursue a stadium in Downtown. It remains unclear how the Chargers intend to finance a Downtown stadium. But it is abundantly clear that a ballot measure that raises taxes for a stadium must be approved by two-thirds of San Diego’s voters. This is an extremely high hurdle to clear. We remain committed to maintaining an open dialogue with the Chargers as we learn more details about their plan.”
At a news conference, Chargers stadium consultant Fred Maas said a joint project with the convention center could provide some "economies of scale" to lower prices. Team officials will explore their financing options to try to craft a financing plan that requires a simple majority vote.

Maas said the Chargers will have to file their initiative with the City Clerk's Office by March 24 in order to begin the process of collecting petition signatures to qualify for the general election ballot.

"We really focused on the opportunities — do we really want to replicate another Qualcomm, or do we want to try to do something really special downtown," Maas said.

SDSU officials declined to comment until they learned details of the Chargers plans.

With Qualcomm Stadium likely to be leveled if a new Chargers facility is built, school administrators would have to decide whether to build a smaller stadium for the Aztecs football team either on campus, the former Qualcomm Stadium site, or play downtown — a significantly longer trip for students.