New TV ad for SoccerCity aims to sell development proposal to voters, city council

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The television campaign to sell SoccerCity to the voters, and the city council, began this holiday weekend. And the primary target audience right now is five of the nine council members.

If council fails to send this initiative to the voters in a special election this November, the project is dead.

A couple of developers who want to expand their land holdings in Mission Valley have come out against SoccerCity.

San Diego State has come out against it, even though the Aztecs won’t have a place to play when Qualcomm comes down in 2018, and a city attorney report says much of what the initiative promises, including a river park, a stadium and development, are not guaranteed.

The first TV ad counters with the benefits the initiative will bring to the city and to taxpayers saying it’s not like other stadium deals.

There have been a number of calls for alternative proposals, but right now, SoccerCity is the only game in town.

Former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said it’s something the voters need to think about.

"If you’re gonna put a new roof on your house, are you going to go to the first roofer that comes along and gives you something that doesn’t guarantee much? That’s where the issue is gonna be for the voters to think about," Goldsmith said.

SoccerCity emphasizes this project is much more than soccer.

SoccerCity values the land as an old stadium and a parking lot, and when deductions are factored in, such as the cost of tearing down the stadium, the value could be $10,000 because the land is not entitled, not ready for development.

But the initiative, if passed, automatically entitles the land, greatly increasing its value.

"When they discussed reselling a portion of that property to San Diego State, they were talking about $13 million per usable acre," Goldsmith said.

The city’s water fund owns 117 acres of the Qualcomm site SoccerCity will need. A city attorney report in 2011 defined fair market value.

"Fair Market Value means the most probable price that the portion being disposed of should bring, in a competitive and open market under all conditions to a fair sale."

So how does any of this filter down to the taxpayers?

"So they buy it or exchange property at the true fair market value so that the water fund gets out, and they sell it to the developers for this much lower fair market value. The difference will be make up by the city and the taxpayers," Goldsmith said.

The mayor’s Task Force estimated a true market value of 75 acres of land would sell for $225 million.

Categories: Local San Diego News, SoccerCity Proposal