SDSU announces end of discussions with FS Investors regarding So - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

SDSU announces end of discussions with FS Investors regarding SoccerCity

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SDSU announces end of discussions with FS Investors regarding SoccerCity SDSU announces end of discussions with FS Investors regarding SoccerCity

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego State University announced Tuesday that it has ended negotiations with the group behind the Soccer City development proposed for Mission Valley, and called on the city of San Diego to issue a request for other proposals for use of the Qualcomm Stadium property.

SDSU officials previously expressed reservations about the Soccer City plan, which would include a joint soccer and college football stadium, a river park, housing and commercial space. The 166 acres became available when the Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles.

For well over a year, San Diego State University has engaged in discussions with FS Investors on a possible partnership opportunity at the Mission Valley site. Unfortunately, a fair, equitable deal that would provide opportunity for the long-term success of SDSU and Aztec football, as well as a transparent deal for the citizens of San Diego, could not be reached.

Recently, Mayor Kevin Faulconer reached out to SDSU in an attempt to facilitate a deal on behalf of SDSU with FS Investors. SDSU reiterated our offer to purchase land and to provide our fair share of infrastructure costs, but still no agreement could be reached.

While SDSU’s current campus footprint of 238 acres is sufficient to support the University’s aspirations in the short term, we have long-articulated the need for more space for the advancement of the University over the next 50 years. The Mission Valley opportunity is a once-in-a-generation chance for SDSU to expand its research, tech transfer, collaboration space and other future needs, as we continue to ascend toward becoming a top 50 public research institution.

With these concerns and motivations in mind, SDSU will not engage in any further discussions with FS Investors. We urge the City of San Diego to pursue a transparent RFP process to develop a plan that will accomplish the community’s vision for this vital property, and serve the San Diego Region for decades to come.

La Jolla-based FS Investors created the plan for the development, which could go before voters in November.

Last month, the developer turned in signatures in support of the project to the county Registrar of Voters. If enough are valid, the City Council will have to schedule a public vote or approve the plan outright.

"It's another sad chapter in the saga of departing university leadership moving the goal posts," said Nick Stone, Project Manager of Goal SD, following SDSU's announcement. "Unbelievably, they continue to walk away from people trying to help them. It's clear this decision will jeopardize Aztec football. One would have hoped an issue of this magnitude would warrant a meeting with the new administration, and yet the person making this decision will be at a new East Coast university safe from the aftermath his lack of leadership has created. Despite this announcement, we stand ready to work with new leaders at SDSU to support the long term goals of an institution we care about deeply."

On Monday, California State University Chancellor Timothy White appointed longtime SDSU executive Sally Roush, who had retired four years ago, as interim president beginning July 1.

Some observers suggested that the experienced Roush could bring a different approach to the talks with FS Investors. However, school spokeswoman Gina Jacobs told City News Service that Roush "was fully briefed and agrees with this approach.''

SDSU officials have long eyed the Mission Valley property for expansion in order to handle future growth. In its statement, the site is described as "a once-in-a-generation chance for SDSU to expand its research, tech transfer, collaboration space and other future needs.''

In March, SDSU presented Faulconer with a wish list that included 35 acres for campus expansion and an additional dozen acres for a stadium for the football team.

While Soccer City plans included a home for Aztec football, SDSU athletics officials considered the venue too small and contended that making it bigger in the future would not be financially feasible.

City officials plan to shutter Qualcomm Stadium after the 2018 football season. SDSU would probably play at Petco Park the following season.

Matt Awbrey, Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief of Communications for Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office issued the following statement: 

"We have been very clear that the City cannot afford to keep Qualcomm Stadium open past 2018 and the Padres have clearly stated that the Aztecs can only play at Petco Park for one year after that. While we are still willing to engage with SDSU, this decision has unfortunately put the university in a situation where this process will move forward without their involvement."

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