Mayor Kevin Faulconer was in Mission Beach Wednesday when he stopped to talk with NBC 7 about the new Chargers proposal for a downtown site. Any proposal using public funds will require a two-thirds vote, the mayor said, something he described as "very, very difficult."
“The plan they rolled out yesterday will make it very difficult to achieve that objective. But obviously we’re gonna wait to see what their financing plan is when they release it," Faulconer said.
The San Diego Chargers released a statement late Tuesday asking fans to help them build a "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.”
The team's representatives have rejected the proposal backed by Faulconer and the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group that a replacement for the aging Qualcomm Stadium be built on the same site in Mission Valley.
The Chargers are working with JMI Reality to create an initiative to present to the county registrar by March 24. If approved, a signature gathering campaign will launch to put the initiative on the ballot in November.
"Anytime you talk about raising taxes and dedicating that to a specific source, that requires 2/3 and that’s very, very difficult to achieve success. And what we’re all interested in is achieving success," Mayor Faulconer told NBC 7.
"I said from the very beginning it’s important we expand the convention center – move forward on that. It’s also important we keep the Chargers in San Diego, which is why the plan we put forward in Mission Valley would achieve that objective without raising taxes. I think the fans supported that. As I said before we’re gonna have to see what the actual financing plans of the downtown proposal once its laid out," the mayor said.
Watch the full clip here.
The Chargers will pay for the full ‘stadium portion’ of the downtown plan, said Steve Peace, a spokesman with JMI Realty, which is leading the coalition charged with planning a downtown stadium. He said it would cost $400 million less to build a combined facility rather than to build two separate facilities; the stadium component is cheaper overall, Peace said.
In theory, it would not involve raising taxes.
"One of the opportunities downtown is that because of a consolidated venue with the convention center, there's certain economies of scale; we can reduce cost. That'll all be done in due course as we work through the process," said Fred Maas, a former chairman and CEO of the Centre City Development Corp. who is now serving as the Chargers' special adviser.
The proposal would also allow the Chargers to keep the hotelier commitment in place, according to Peace. Downtown hoteliers have been vying for a convention center expansion at the current Embarcadero site, as has the mayor.
The rest of the project would, in theory, be paid for by a citizen's initiative that aims to redo the city's hotel room tax structure.
Read the team's statement here.
In early February, after the NFL denied Dean Spanos' proposal to share a stadium with the Raiders in Carson.
He decided to hire Maas to take a fresh look at staying in San Diego.
Stadium supporters were already on deadline for a November ballot to ask voters to support building a stadium in Mission Valley.
The team has pledged $10 million in financing to help sway voters, many of whom feel burned by the looming potential of losing the franchise that's been in San Diego for 55 seasons.