Welcome to San Diego Blog | May 20, 2010
Downtown San Diego Chargers Stadium
I attended a town hall meeting with the San Diego Stadium Coalition yesterday evening. Mark Fabiani, Chargers spokesperson discussed the possiblility of a new Chargers Stadium in downtown San Diego. He gave information and answered questions about the proposed downtown site, recent developments, funding options and the political landscape for moving forward with the project.
The proposed location for the new Chargers Stadium is in Downtown San Diego’s East Village neighborhood. The new site would occupy the land a few blocks east of the Padres Petco Park and would encompass half of the tailgate park, the Wonderhause factory buildings and the current transit yard.
The entire area makes up approximately 10 acres so it would be one of the smallest new NFL stadiums in the country. This particular site was termed, “the last best site” in San Diego because the the parking, infrastructure and transportation like the trolley are already in place. This location would be the cheapest location to build in because they would not need to create new infrastructure as downtown San Diego is already able to accomodate the Sunday crowds that gamedays bring.
New Chargers Stadium in East Village San Diego
The big question for this new proposed Chargers stadium is the funding. The first and most important component for feasibility is for the income cap for CCDC to be lifted. CCDC is the redevelopment agency in Downtown San Diego that is able to spend money on developing infrastructure, parks, recreation and oversight for all downtown San Diego developments. CCDC is a no- profit that receives its income from the incremental tax dollars received after the redevelopment takes place.
For example, if an old city block was occupied by an ACE parking lot, then the tax dollars collected are relatively low. If CCDC helps plan and approves a new luxury high-rise condo building then once it is finished, all of the tax revenue above and beyond the revenue created by the ACE parking lot goes to CCDC to spend on other downtown redevelopment. Most redevelopment agencies have a life capped by time, but San Diego’s CCDC has a lifespan dictated by both time and an income cap.
It is extremely important for the future of downtown development as a whole, including the new Chargers Stadium, that this cap be lifted. The proposed stadium would be funded by the city, the Chargers, the NFL and grant monies. The overall cost is projected to be $800m, but the stadium would be operated by the Chargers so the city would save the $17m per year that they spend to maintain Qualcomm Stadium. Unfortunately, the downtown site is too small for private development to pay for it because there is no room to build more businesses that would produce income.
Fabiani described the new Charger’s stadium as an urban stadium that would be a Superbowl quality stadium. Given the smaller footprint of the site, the stadium would only seat about 62,000 on a regular basis, but they would have expansion areas set up to accommodate another 8000 or so fans. If everything moves forward as the Chargers hope, the new stadium would be completed by 2016 or 2017. More recent ideas were to make it so the stadium could be covered with a retractable roof and then the sports arena events could be moved to downtown so the current sports arena land could be sold or redeveloped by the city to create more revenue.