San Diego city and county unveil financing proposal for new Mission Valley stadium

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Under the proposal which was unveiled Monday, the city and county of San Diego would pay about one-third of the total construction cost – $350 million combined.

Also today, the office of Mayor Kevin also released a 6,000-page environmental impact report, renderings of a design concept were put on display, and a city/county negotiating team met with a group of National Football League owners in Chicago.   

Nearly 15 years after the Chargers NFL franchise began asking for a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium, the team has purchased land in Carson, in Los Angeles County, to build its own stadium if no deal is struck to stay in San Diego.   

The NFL has made returning a team to Los Angeles for the first time since the 1994 season a major priority.   

Faulconer told reporters that the city is "on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars" under its current financial arrangement with the team and to operate the stadium in the future. A city report issued last week estimated it would cost $282 million over the next 20 years to operate the facility.

"We can fix that with a financial deal that's better for the taxpayers," Faulconer said. "It's no secret that our current financial agreement with Qualcomm Stadium leaves much to be desired."

"The financing concept is comprised of four main elements – no new taxes on San Diegans, two dollars of private money for every dollar in public
funds, and it will require voter approval," Faulconer said. "And it protects taxpayers – it caps the public contribution to the new stadium, and makes the Chargers responsible for operating and maintaining the stadium, and it ensures that taxpayers are not on the hook for cost overruns."

In May, a mayoral task force issued a proposal  that differed from the one issued on Monday. The new proposal does not rely on income from other development on the site, like shops and office buildings.  

In order for the plan to go in front of voters by January, the document needs to be approved by the City Council in October. So Faulconer, county Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith have urged the Chargers to return to the negotiating table. According to Goldsmith, the environmental impact report is now available for public comment, and will likely be tweaked in the coming weeks by city staff.   

The Chargers broke off talks with city and county officials in June because of the speed in which the study was performed. Team special counsel Mark Fabiani commented on the day's events and the EIR.

"Never before in California history has a controversial, billion-dollar project relied on environmental review documents hastily prepared in three weeks," Fabiani said. "The Chargers have been clear from the start that the franchise will not be the city's guinea pig for this inevitably ill-fated legal experiment."

"Remember, these are the same politicians who told us, with disastrous results in court, that the convention center expansion could be
financed by a vote of the hoteliers rather than a vote of the people," Fabiani said.      

The firm Populous posted color renderings to the mayor's website which depict the stadium, including the bowl and outside plazas. The drawings also show where on the 166-acre Mission Valley site the new stadium would be located.

"This conceptual design was inspired by San Diego's iconic sights and our breathtaking beauty – showcasing our region in a new and exciting way," Faulconer said.

"It shows a multi-purpose sports stadium that would be capable of hosting professional sports, including, of course, NFL games, San Diego State Aztec games, soccer, and of course our two bowl games — the Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl, as well as entertainment, cultural and commercial events," Faulconer said.

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