San Diego

SDSU Shares Details of Mission Valley Redevelopment Plan

University plans include stadium for Aztecs football, possibly MLS and NFL

Over the summer San Diego State University pulled out of a proposed partnership with Soccer City and started working on its own plan to redevelop the Mission Valley land where our largest stadium sits.

On Thursday night a large chunk of that plan was revealed.

A group called Friends of SDSU, which is a coalition of San Diego State alumni, released details on a citizen’s initiative called the “SDSU West Campus Research Center, Stadium and River Park Initiative.” Here are the main parts of the proposal:

•    Construction of a new, joint-use stadium of 35,000 seats for the Aztecs football program (currently ranked 19th in the nation) that would be able to house Major League Soccer or National Football League franchises, as well. This stadium would have to be completed within seven years of the adoption of the initiative.
•    A 34-acre river park.
•    Educational, research, and technology programs for San Diego State University as part of a mixed-use campus village that would also include student, faculty and staff housing.
•    Hotels and retail uses.
•    Apartment-style homes for the local community.
•    Trolley and other public transportation improvements.

The initiative proposes that SDSU purchase the land from the City of San Diego at the now-ubiquitous “Fair Market Value” and the initiative would require a full Environmental Impact Report.

What is not made clear in the 14-page description of the initiative is how the project will be financed but it does say no money from the City or County general fund will be sought and it will not ask for any new or additional taxes on San Diego city residents. There are people working with SDSU on the proposal helping with ideas but in the end the school is going to have to make the final decision on how to buy all the land and get it fit for construction.

“It is up to them how they pay for it,” said Kim Kilkenny from the Friends of SDSU Steering Committee. “One of the components of the plan is not only a university campus but also we’re anticipating San Diego State would end up partnering with private sector individuals who do research park and technology and innovation labs and entrepreneurial programs and leverage that investment to assisting some of the improvements they want to do.”

On Saturday, September 30, a notice of intent will be published and 21 days after that a signature-gathering campaign will start.

If it ends up on the ballot in 2018 it will, of course, be in direct competition with the Soccer City proposal put together by F.S. Investors. The SDSU West initiative has a section that says if that is the case the initiative with the highest vote total would win and have the option of moving forward.

Nick Stone of F.S. Investors responded to the news in a statement:

"As we have always said, we welcome competitive ideas, because we believe the detailed plan we put forward accomplishes some long-held goals for San Diego. At no cost to taxpayers, we propose a fully funded river park, a new home for Aztec football, a much-desired Major League Soccer team, room for the university to expand and billions in new revenues to fund police and fire protection, street resurfacing and other city services. We put our best plan forward, and we look forward to and expect a similarly thorough review by San Diegans of this proposal."

SDSU is expected to release further details on their initiative in December, including artistic renderings and more detailed financing information.

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