More than a year after San Diego voters said they wanted San Diego State University to control the land where the old Chargers Stadium sits, negotiators are still working to arrive at a final sale agreement.
“We feel as though significant progress is being made, and that our twice a week meetings for multiple hours have been very productive to date,” said John Kratzer—a consultant working for SDSU—in front of the San Diego City Council Monday.
“There are some outstanding issues that are still being negotiated, but we’ve made really good progress,” said Cybele Thompson with the city’s Real Estate Assets Department.
While the $86.2 million price tag for the land appears to be settled, there are details that are still unresolved.
Some of those outstanding issues from the city’s perspective include SDSU’s commitment to building a two-lane, all-weather bridge connecting the stadium property to Fenton Parkway to the east, and SDSU’s commitment to creating affordable housing units as part of their development.
“It seems like the affordable housing component is still being crafted,” said Council President Georgette Gomez, addressing an expressed interested from SDSU in getting waivers from the city’s affordable housing requirements.
“I’m hoping that we can have a little bit more of what that looks like from San Diego State if you’re choosing to have a waiver from the city, I’d want to see that in print before we agree to that,” Gomez continued.
“We’re staunchly committed to the affordable housing policy and inclusionary housing policy that we previously discussed, we just may want to take a different approach to how we implement those,” said Kratzer.
Councilmembers Barbara Bry and Scott Sherman — who are both locked in a dead heat for a second place runoff spot in San Diego’s mayoral race — disagreed with each other on the question of urgency.
“I’m frankly frustrated with both sides, that this has taken so long,” said Bry, encouraging city staff and SDSU to commit to finalizing a deal by the end of April.
“It sounds like we’re making progress here, maybe not as quick as some would like, but this is probably the biggest land deal in the city’s history so it’s important that we make sure we get it right,” remarked Sherman.
Real estate economist Gary London did not believe it was strange the process has taken over a year.
“The fact that the two parties haven’t come to terms yet for a deal is very normal in a real estate transaction,” London told NBC 7.
“We’re sort of in the final throes of that final process now,” he added.
The Monday afternoon meeting was simply to give councilmembers an update on how negotiations were going, and no action was taken.
In November 2018, San Diego voters opted to have the city sell the 132-acre property to SDSU rather than have the city lease the property to Soccer City.