Petco vs Chargers

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – This could be one of the biggest seasons for the Padres since Petco opened 11 years ago.

It wasn’t easy, but getting Petco Park built touched off an economic boom that transformed the East end of downtown.

This could also be a memorable year for the Chargers if they can strike a deal for a new stadium.

So how did Petco come about and can the city partnership with the Chargers come up with a deal to keep them as they city kept the Padres 14 years ago?

The Padres needed their own ballpark if they were to survive because the Chargers were taking most of the revenue at Qualcomm that both teams shared.

In 1998, after a spirited debate, the voters approved the new ballpark, no doubt influence by a winning team headed to the World Series.

Padres owner John Moores wanted the ballpark in Mission Valley.

Mayor Susan Golding said no, it’s better downtown to kick-off private investments in the seedy area of the East Village.

It was sold to the public as more than a ballpark and it certainly was. Investors poured $2 billion into the East Village and downtown.

It worked because the city and the Padres worked together, the public was kept informed and approved $225 million in tax dollars.

Fast forward to 2015.

“Petco Park is a remarkable example of what you can do when we come together, bringing San Diegans together, and this is living proof of that,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

Mayor Faulconer was getting a tour of Petco on the opening day of the season and he talked to Dan Plante about the economic impact the ballpark has contributed to the city.

“It’s been a huge shot in the arm and by every measure Petco Park has been a phenomenal success, and as Mike said, you could feel it around the city this last week,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Mike is Mike Dee, President of the Padres who talked about the upgrades including a new video board.

“That requires a lot of maintenance, a lot of partnership with the city in making improvements that we’ve been able to do here in the short term, and I think we’ll continue that,” Dee said.

A lot has changed in 11 years.

Redevelopment was killed, there was a recession and the city experienced some political and financial instability.

The Chargers had proposed a similar development in Mission Valley a year after Petco opened, but the city wouldn’t donate the land and the stadium issue languished until the team threatened to move to Los Angeles in February.

“The potential of what’s happening in Los Angeles is a significant driver never, I think, has that a threat been more real,” the mayor added.

The mayor formed a task force to come up with a financing plan that’s due next month, but the Chargers remain skeptical that the Mission Valley site will provide the revenue the team needs to protect the franchise in San Diego.

“We still want to get something done here, that’s the first priority, but at least the team has another option if things don’t work out here,” said Mark Fabiani.

The coming together of these internal forces worked to get Petco Park built, but it’s the external forces that are pulling the Chargers in a different direction.

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