Bankrolling Bolts’ Stadium: Six-Month Timeout Called

The city's investment advisers were expected to weigh in last month, but will need until September

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    When it comes to getting a financial game plan for a new Chargers stadium, the goal line has been moved back six months.

    The city's investment advisers were expected to weigh in last month, but will need until September.

    It's been apparent for a while that voters won't see a so-called "multi-use stadium, sports and entertainment district" ballot measure this year.
                   
    But the Chargers have been talking about bankrolling a special election for one next year.
                   
    Now, even that timeline looks iffy.

    Bankrolling Bolts' Stadium: Six-Month Timeout Called

    [DGO] Bankrolling Bolts' Stadium: Six-Month Timeout Called
    Darren Pugdil with the San Diego Mayor's office tells NBC 7 reporter Gene Cubbison why the city doesn't want to rush into a decision with a new Chargers stadium. NFL.com Chargers.com.

    The Bolts' regular could season be under way by the time the New York-based Lazard Freres & Co LLC, the city's stadium consultants, have a final financing plan – and Mayor Sanders, within three months of being termed out.

    "We need to be fearless in fighting for our future," Sanders said in his final State of the City address January 11th. "And we need to close the deal on civic achievements."

    The sporting proposition envisioned for East Village could cost a billion dollars.

    Regional financing seems a prerequisite, and perhaps selling off the Qualcomm Stadium, Sports Arena and other sites.

    "You know, we don't want to rush into any big decisions," says Darren Pudgil, the mayor's spokesman.  "The city's done that in the past, under past administrations.  There's no need to rush this; this is a very complex transaction.  We want to make sure we do it right."

    In civic discussions so far, new taxes are being left off the table.
                   
    There are hopes that the NFL, parking surcharges, multi-use revenue streams and other schemes could help pull a rabbit out of the hat.

    "But it's still not going to cobble together enough for this, so that's why it's going to take all this time," says Scott Lewis, who's followed the issue for our media partner, Voice of San Diego.  "That's why it'll be all secret.  Because they don't know.  There's no easy answer to anything like this."

    As an ex-mayor named Murphy learned, when money troubles and lawsuits delayed the construction of PETCO Park, what can go wrong in San Diego does go wrong in San Diego. 

    Discounting “Murphy's Law” can be risky.

    "I think it's probably looking that way everywhere --  I don't think it's just here," says UT-San Diego sports columnist Nick Canepa.  "I think we're talking about Los Angeles, and by the time they get done up in the Bay Area, I don't think those teams are moving into anything new anytime soon in the state … It just doesn't make any sense. Why would you be that optimistic?"

    Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani was not available for comment on all this.
                   
    The team wants a roofed venue not just for football, but Final Fours, major conventions and trade shows.
                   
    They see the proposed expansion of the convention center as competition for limited resources, and its special-district, hotel tax-hike funding approach as legally questionable.

    "There are a lot of hurdles in its way, and we'll have to see if it gets over those hurdles," Fabiani told NBC-7 San Diego  in January.  "If it doesn't, we hope people will come back and give our idea a good look.  Because we think it deserves that."               
     

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