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KPBS Midday Edition

Stadium: Chargers Pointman Talks To KPBS; East Village Group Reacts To Proposal

A conceptual rendering of the proposed Chargers stadium/convention center in downtown San Diego. The renderings may be revised in the future.
JMI Realty
A conceptual rendering of the proposed Chargers stadium/convention center in downtown San Diego. The renderings may be revised in the future.

KPBS' Midday Edition continued the conversation on the Chargers' proposed stadium-convention center project in downtown San Diego with two segments Thursday.

Chargers' adviser talks to KPBS

Stadium: Chargers Pointman Talks To KPBS; East Village Group Reacts To Proposal
GUEST: Fred Maas, special adviser, San Diego Chargers

Today on Midday Edition we get to grips on what could be an issue on the November ballot. Should we approve a financing plan for a $1.8 million football Stadium next to Petco Park and the central library downtown. We have with us Fred Maas , special advisor for the Chargers. Thank you for joining us. My pleasure. The site next to Petco Park and across the street from the San Diego public library a number of people have come up with mixed reactions to the proposal. Tell us why the East village is the best location. I would be happy to do that. We are excited about the proposal and are disappointed by some of the folks who have come out publicly as early. We are going to need either two thirds or 51 vote and believe overtime we will be able to make our case. Several things. As you know there has been a long-standing dialogue about building a convention center expansion downtown. It has been embroiled in litigation and controversy on several fronts. We believe this is an opportunity to realize the dream of the full sports and entertainment complex contemplative back in 1998. We want to accomplish a couple of things. One is to build and interim expansion not on the waterfront that would provide unique expansion opportunities to provide to a different rate of customers. Also to build a home for the San Diego Chargers and to keep the team at home. We think about be more than just a football stadium and will provide a vehicle to complete what was envisioned in that southeastern portion of downtown. So would be 220 hopefully event days a year and create a live sports entertainment district that can realize the potential for downtown. Furthermore, it will open up opportunities at mission Valley. We have 166 acres of their. -- Up there. We think we entire story is told it becomes more of a financial plan and we can persuade people that it is not just about the book but about the broader community. It will affect downtown and mission Valley. What is your analysis of how many jobs will created and the key cost many people the cost to taxpayers? Obviously, thousands of jobs during the construction phase. And hundreds depending on the plans for the convention center. On the backside we have been very careful of what we are presenting. We were cognizant of the burden that it puts on the local community. We have try to be consistent with competing cities around the country. Laces like New Orleans, Minneapolis and Houston and Indianapolis that if used similar taxes to provide their facilities. With the exception of Indianapolis we will build a convention center and a football Stadium. What we are really talking about is a $0.04 additional tax that will ultimately contribute to the development of the city. What that means is that you if you are a resident or voter in the city and if you don't spend an evening in a hotel. You will never pay a dime for either the expansion or the stadium. That is true. It is visitors rather than your resident taxpayer. But people can argue that could go into the general fund. Why does a stadium plan serve the city better in your opinion. --? We think we are accomplishing exactly that I'm glad you asked. By opening up the opportunity the city will be saving anywhere from $10 million anywhere from $10 million-$50 million a year that could be contributed to exactly those things. It will also open up to a potential and also for the long haul producing enormous redevelopment throughout the area north of the stadium that will provide money for the general fund. As you go into the details of the proposal some of the dollars will be allocated to the general fund. At the expiration of the bonds all of the money from this tax -- not all of the money but the remaining money will flow into the general fund as well. We think we have made a very compelling case to address those issues. There is a group called the ease village people that say it will build a wall between downtown and barrio Logan. I spent an enormous amount of time over the years when I was working for the city on the East village and what has been accomplished and made possible there I think people need to see what we are proposing. This notion of walling off the area is really one that is misinformed. They have not seen that we intend to do with the pedestrian level. People are forgetting this area was specifically contemplated for a sports area district a long time ago. They are proposing to build high-rises to four stories. We will have a lot of times to debate this between now and November. But I want to make the point you will start collecting signatures and 21 day. And this is a separate initiative from the citizens initiative so voters will have at least two initiatives on the ballot. Is that right extract as we know right now that is correct. Fred Maas thanks for joining us . My pleasure elephant anytime. EAST VILLAGE GROUP REACTS TO PROPOSAL There is a group of architects and urban planners www. themselves the East village people that are have a vision. The East Village People is holding a workshop Saturday to discuss alternatives for the future of East Village. we have two people with us today. David Malmuth, developer, I.D.E.A. District and Rob Quigley, architect and East Village resident . Rob thank you for joining us and David. Thank you for having us. David what would you say some implications are for building this downtown? We think it precludes the potential of doing something that could be a much higher and better use for all of San Diego. What is the problem with it? We like to talk about alternative. We are yes people and the reason we started the process is we feel it is so important to engage residents, business holders, stakeholders and ask them what they think. Because we are the ones most affected and that's why we started this out reach process. We had a point of view which was an innovation cluster in this area that could be driven by education and high-tech companies. We think the mayor is right . It is about jobs. We think we vision that we put forward that has been embraced by the community has the potential of thousands of jobs which is much more valuable than the kinds of jobs that would be created by the stadium complex. The short-term jobs we have lots of tourism jobs. But if we are going to be competitive we need to create the jobs that attracting talent to allow our region to grow. What is an alternative vision you could offer for people to this and what is wrong with building a stadium there? I can't think of a city in the country who is elected to put a stadium adjacent to their largest most important cultural institution. From a planning standpoint it is inherently discordant. So I think it is alarming and by the way the stadium is huge. The biggest project that has been built and downtown San Diego is the Horton Plaza shopping center. This is half again eager than that. There is a reason city's don't put a stadium in the urban core will be one of the first to attempt to do that that is because they need a lot of space and parking. They are almost always built in suburban locations like Titian Valley. Some people are saying you don't have an alternative. Do you think the community has a vision of what they would like to see the? Rob go ahead. First of all there was a master plan done of downtown San Diego 10 years ago. I said for two years on that committee with 30 other citizen. And Fred is mistaken about the zoning and planning for East village. It was never contemplated as a sports complex and it is not now designated as a sports complex. It was contemplated as a possible expansion area for the convention center until it was learned that that can't work remotely. So that is another problem for the Chargers. So that is the basic background. David have you done much with the community down the? You see an alternative vision? Absolutely. My partner and I have been working for five years with the idea district. We would hate to see these 15 acres which would accommodate education you jurors and high-tech users be gobbled up by a stadium which does nothing to further this vision of a vibrant, mixed use innovation district. There are many examples elephant where this type of district has four days forced -- forest. They bring diversity and ideas and that is what the community told us they wanted. They said they wanted something that fits with the fabric so we don't war -- wall off Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan . Is there any alternative that could be a viable option? Have you discussed negotiations? We are very interested in seeing what they propose. But just looking at the physical size required for a stadium, it appears to us that it is impossible to locate one. But we are looking forward to seeing what they propose. I think the kind of urban design objectives we in the community have started to articulate and hopefully they will address those. But it is something that is not done. You don't put football stadiums in an urban core. It is a wonderful community. I live here. There are a number of construction projects that would be adversely impacted by this. There are three large high-rise residential projects going in next door. They would be next to parks and residential areas. When you look the need for more housing downtown would seem to be appropriate place to do more housing. Yes. That is the bigger picture. It is to understand this is not about just East village. It is about all of San Diego. East village and downtown welcomes very dense urban housing. And if we don't build it downtown and squandered 12 city blocks on a stadium, it mean the suburbs will have to absorb all that housing. You have a work -- workshop happening on Saturday will you be producing some reports David? The second workshop is to come back to the community with plan. We have three different alternatives. What we want to do is get consensus around maybe one or two plans. In the third plan we want to come back with economics. Whatever plan gets adopted it is important that we do the homework. We need to understand what the economic implications are going to be. We will do that homework and bring it back to the community. We have run out of time but that is really interesting and alternative proposal. David Malmuth, developer, idea district and Rob Quigley, architect and East Village resident thanks for being here. Thank you.

Stadium: Chargers Pointman Talks To KPBS; East Village Group Reacts To Proposal
GUESTS:David Malmuth, developer, I.D.E.A. DistrictRob Quigley, architect and East Village resident

The Chargers will begin collecting signatures in three weeks in a bid to qualify a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center annex proposal for the November general election.

The plan includes hiking the city's hotel room tax to fund construction, operations and maintenance. The team also intends to chip in $350 million and borrow $300 million from the NFL.

Several local elected officials have said they are not fans of the plan.

Fred Maas, special adviser to the Chargers, told Midday Edition he's "disappointed with some of the folks who've come out so publicly this early, but fortunately there's not that many of them."

He said the team is excited about the downtown location because it would "realize the dream" of a mixed-use convention center and stadium that creates "a live sports and entertainment district." He said it also would open up opportunities for other uses of the current 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.

Maas said the team believes "we've honored the commitment the city had made to the NFL many months ago where it'd be a third from the NFL, a third from the team and a third from visitors."

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he'll evaluate the proposal's potential impact on jobs and taxes.

Maas said the tax won't affect San Diego residents unless they stay in hotels in the city.

Under the proposal, the Chargers would be responsible for the football side of the project. The city would oversee the convention center and the stadium when it's not being used for football.

But the chairwoman of the board that oversees the convention center said the Chargers' plan falls short of the need for additional exhibit space. A planned expansion of the convention center has been held up for years by litigation over its funding method and environmental impact. Local officials say a larger facility is necessary to keep Comic-Con International in town and attract other large trade shows. Some officials are opposed to breaking up exhibit space. The Chargers' plan calls for construction of a stadium and exhibit space a few blocks away from the convention center.

Maas said the team plans to respond to those concerns.

"This notion of walling off the area is misinformed," he said. "People are forgetting that this area was specifically contemplated for a sports and entertainment district."

A separate initiative backed by attorney Cory Briggs and former Councilwoman Donna Frye is also headed to the November ballot and would raise hotel room taxes.

"As far as we know right now," Maas said, those initiatives will remain separate.

East Village group reacts to proposal

One group is concerned about the implications of a downtown football stadium.

The East Village People, made up of East Village developers and residents, worry a stadium would cut off downtown from surrounding neighborhoods, including Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan.

Architect and East Village resident Rob Quigley told Midday Edition he "can't think of a city in the country" that put a stadium next to its largest cultural attraction. Quigley designed the new downtown library that would be near the stadium.

He said he's very concerned about the impact the stadium and its parking would have on the area. He said contrary to Maas' claim, the area was never intended to house a sports and entertainment complex.

David Malmuth, a developer of San Diego's I.D.E.A. District, said he wants a "vibrant mixed-use innovation district" in the area, not a stadium.

The East Village People are holding a workshop at 9:30 a.m. Saturday to discuss alternatives for the future of East Village. It will be held at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Thursday to evsouthworkshop@gmail.com.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly reported the price tag for the proposed $1.8 billion stadium and convention center expansion.

Corrected: September 30, 2022 at 1:03 PM PDT
City News Service contributed to this report.
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