The Chargers’ move from San Diego to Los Angeles leaves a big opportunity for the redevelopment of Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, and one frontrunner is already emerging for the major task at hand.
The wheels are already turning in regards to the future of Qualcomm Stadium and the land around the centrally-located stadium in San Diego. The city’s loss of the Chargers could ultimately be a win for the Mission Valley community.
[G] Buh-Bye, San Diego Chargers
NBC 7 spoke with residents about this after the Bolts announced they were moving to Los Angeles Thursday, and many had their own ideas of what could become of the stadium site.
“[It could be’ sued for education by a university or college, by the city to be used for something that will help residents of San Diego,” one man suggested.
“Fix it up, make it look nice,” another San Diegan added.
There have been talks of “The Q” perhaps attracting a Major League Soccer team at some point.
“Oh, that’d be rad,” one local said of that possibility. “A soccer team would be pretty cool; I’d support that.”
Deciding what to do with the 166-acre plot isn't easy but CEO of JMI Realty, John Kratzner, thinks he has the answer.
“We’re talking about a transit-oriented development that's self-contained, that doesn't generate huge burdens in terms of traffic and environmental impact to Mission Valley,” Kratzner explained, laying out his game plan.
JMI Realty is best known for developing the downtown San Diego ballpark district around Petco Park. Now, the company is pushing to make the Qualcomm Stadium site into a satellite campus for San Diego State University (SDSU).
Kratzner said the conceptual rendering for the project includes housing, science and research labs, and a smaller, less expensive stadium for sporting events.
“These 30,000 to 40,000-person stadiums can be built for far, far less. I would suggest to you $200-$250 million,” he added.
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman is already working closely with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on ideas for the future of Qualcomm Stadium.
“We have an opportunity to create something very special as a community in San Diego – let’s move forward together,” Hirshman said.
The MTS trolley connection to nearby Montezuma Mesa makes the deal even more intriguing - reducing the reliance on vehicle traffic. Also, many residents NBC 7 spoke with like the idea of more recreational space along the San Diego River.
While some think the city should get top-dollar for the land, Kratzner believes the deal could have a much bigger long term benefit.
“I might argue that selling it to the university for $50 million is a better proposition than selling it to a developer for $150 million,” he told NBC 7. “This is a significant asset, whose future use will have tremendous impact on whatever happens in San Diego for generations to come.”
Of course, looking at the bigger picture, whatever happens at the Qualcomm Stadium site won't unfold just yet – or even within the next few years. In fact, city leaders say it could take decades but the important thing is having a good, solid master plan.
And now, that plan – whatever it may be – got a little simpler knowing once and for all that the Chargers won’t be a part of it.