The San Diego City Council unanimously voted on Friday in favor of selling the city-owned Mission Valley stadium site to San Diego State University for $86.2 million.
After 18 months of negotiation and much back and forth, the city council came to an agreement on Friday on the sale of the 132-acre piece of land.
SDSU announced May 7 it had taken the next step in purchasing the city's stadium property in Mission Valley, submitting a signed purchase and sale agreement (PSA) for consideration at the May 19 San Diego City Council meeting, but the city failed to vote on the matter.
The university said it met with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office and resolved all the issues the city brought up, and negotiators for the university said there was no reason for the city to not vote on the PSA. The agreement, available online for review, details the university's purchase plans for the property.
Following the councilmembers' unanimous decision, Council President Georgette Gomez called the approval "historic."
"I am ready to work hard to bring forward and take action on a finalized purchase and sale agreement on June 9, fulfilling the will of the voters, and realizing this generational opportunity to improve San Diego,” she said in a statement.
The university's Assistant Vice Chancellor Dawn Theodora reiterated Gomez's sentiments.
"It's not every day that the university has the opportunity to be part of such a monumental and transformational land acquisition," she said in a statement. "This a historic deal."
The planned 35,000-capacity Aztec Stadium would be among the first projects to be built as part of the university's Mission Valley campus. The project boasts new educational facilities, a 450-bed hotel and a 34-acre city-owned river park. That river park's construction and maintenance will be the university's responsibility but will be accessible by the public.
"It's going to be a beautiful venue for all of us to go have a picnic or recreation for hiking," said Barbara Bry, District 1 City Councilmember.
The multi-use stadium, estimated to cost $310 million, will be funded through donations as well as system-wide revenue bonds that will be paid back with revenue generated by the facility -- including ticket revenue, naming rights and concessions.
The bond issuance can be timed appropriately based on market conditions. Operating costs will also be supported by revenue generated by the facility.
While lawyers were in negotiation, the city paid $1 million monthly for the property. With the deal now approved, that burden will be lifted and the general fund will get a much-needed boost at a time when Mayor Kevin Faulconer is forecasting a $300 million budget deficit.
In the northwest corner of the Mission Valley campus site, the stadium's location will allow San Diego State to continue to use the existing SDCCU Stadium during the construction of the new multi-use stadium.
The project is part of the larger SDSU Mission Valley Campus Master Plan approved by the Board of Trustees in January.
The new campus will provide SDSU with the space to grow enrollment, expand research and programs, and add much-needed housing for students, faculty, staff, and the general public, including affordable housing. The plan also creates a regional community river park.
“SDSU Mission Valley is critical to the future of our university and enables SDSU to expand its economic and educational impact in our region,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “SDSU leadership worked diligently with the City over the past 18 months to reach a fair and balanced agreement that protects the public interests we both serve. We look forward to the Council’s consideration of this agreement and to making this project a reality.”
The City Council will revisit the topic in June to discuss the sale for a final agreement.