2018 Earliest Date for Chargers' Downtown Stadium

Project has a tangible date, plenty of obstacles

If the Chargers leave Qualcomm Stadium for a new San Diego site, the earliest it will happen is 2018, a team spokesperson said Thursday.

Fielding questions in an online chat room, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani walked through a best-case scenario timeline that ends with the Chargers playing at a downtown multi-purpose complex in seven years.

First, San Diego voters would have to pass a measure authorizing stadium construction and financing in Nov. 2012. From 2013 to 2014, the project would complete an Environmental Impact Report, “design, relocation of bus yards, site preparation and litigation,” Fabiani wrote.

Thirty-two months of construction later, the stadium would be ready.

Easy enough, only the golden path to El Dorado is riddled with pitfalls and landmines.

To build a downtown facility that would host Aztecs football, concerts and — with a retractable fabric roof — such sporting events as the NCAA Final Four, the stadium project must first sidestep California Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to eliminate redevelopment agencies as a public financing source.

Brown has been met with mayor resistance up and down the state, but if he is successful, Fabiani wrote the Chargers’ downtown stadium hopes would be “dead in the water.”

To salvage its hope of building a stadium in San Diego, where the Chargers have been since 1961, the team would re-examine other options in the county, including Escondido and Chula Vista.

“If the Governor's plan is stopped, the next big question for all of us is how much money the NFL can loan us for the project,” Fabiani wrote. “And we won't know the answer to that until the current Collective Bargaining (CBA) negotiations between the NFL and the players are resolved.

“Once those are resolved, we expect and hope that the NFL will re-create its G3 loan program — which will enable us to let the City of San Diego know exactly how much money we can get from the NFL for the project.”

Seven years is only a large minefield away.

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