San Diego City Council unanimously approves sale of Mission Valley Stadium
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego City Council voted unanimously today
to approve a sale agreement for the city-owned Mission Valley stadium property
to San Diego State University for $86.2 million, bringing more than a year of
negotiations nearly to a close.
Before the property officially changes hands, the city and
university’s attorneys need to finalize the purchase and sale agreement and 30
attachments. The contract details then need to be approved by the council with
an ordinance — which requires two readings in open session — and then a 30-
day referendum period before it can be signed by San Diego’s mayor or their
In short, barring any last-minute negotiations, San Diego State could
close escrow and officially take ownership of the 132-acre property by late
“As an SDSU graduate, I am elated to play a role in helping my alma
mater expand its institutional footprint, enhance its educational prestige,
increase our supply of workforce and student housing, and create a river park
for all San Diegans,” said Georgette Gomez, council president.
San Diego voters approved Measure G in November 2018, setting in
motion land-acquisition negotiations between San Diego and SDSU.
Under the university’s draft purchase and sale agreement, SDSU would
construct and operate SDSU Mission Valley campus, including a 35,000-capacity
stadium and innovation district to support SDSU’s education, research,
entrepreneurial, technology and athletics programs, as well as 86 acres of
parks, recreation and open space, approximately 4,600 residences, 400 hotel
rooms, 95,000 square feet of retail space and enhanced use of the MTS Green
Line Stadium trolley station and accommodation of the planned Purple Line.
“We have reached a pivotal milestone moment. SDSU Mission Valley will
be a true revitalization of public land in all aspects of the plan,” SDSU
President Adela de la Torre said. “We are thrilled to take this critical next
step toward closing the sale and creating generational opportunities for all
While every council member spoke positively about the collaborative
effort to get the purchase and sale agreement approved, a few members expressed
“Believe me when I say there is no one who wants to reach a deal and
get this issue behind us more than me. This vote gets us closer to that goal,”
said Councilman Scott Sherman, in whose district the project falls. Sherman
said he wanted more transportation concessions from the university, but was
willing to take a deal he liked over one he loved.
Councilwoman Vivian Moreno asked lawyers to put a dispute resolution
process into the final, binding sale agreement. Concerns at the site over
ecology, transportation, affordable housing and the city’s wastewater recycling
project — known as Pure Water — gave Moreno concern that issues will arise
after the sale is complete.
“Mediation works and is a lot quicker than litigation,” she said.
Two of the most notable players in the stadium sale saga have been
City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who wanted the sale completed months ago, and
City Attorney Mara Elliott, who has urged a slower pace. Both have sent
political darts at one another over the issue in the past several weeks, and
even offered some passing comments at Friday’s meeting.
“It wasn’t just about the price, that was the easy part,” Elliott
said. “It was about protecting San Diego’s interests.”
She said petty politics made her and her staff’s work more difficult,
but was glad they never caved under pressure.
Bry spoke about her opposition to the failed Soccer City measure and
how she was glad to get the deal done to help move SDSU’s project along.
“Today, we are all Aztecs,” she said.
In a statement released the day before the vote, Bry was clear in her
“SDSU has gone beyond the Measure G guidelines accepting city-imposed
changes to the appraisal process, resulting in an $18 million increase to
the property’s fair market value, committing to environmental mitigations that
go far beyond the requirements of Measure G, providing 18 indemnifications that
protect the city, and securing over $600 million for development of the new
campus, stadium and river park,” she said.
A university spokesman, after reading a statement in support of the
revised sale agreement from de la Torre, agreed with Bry, saying the university
had “far exceeded” its initial offer and took all liability of the property
after the sale.
The city and Mayor Kevin Faulconer, facing a budget shortfall of more
than $300 million due to COVID-19-related revenue loss, had planned on the sale
to help construct next year’s budget.
“Today, a new future for Mission Valley took shape, one with an
expansive river park, a new stadium and a world-class campus that will serve
our region for generations to come,” he said. “Both parties wanted to get
this done right, and the time and thoughtfulness put into this agreement have
created a final product San Diegans can be proud of. This agreement is fair and
equitable, and I want to thank Council President Gomez, City Attorney Elliott
and SDSU for their commitment.”
The final purchase and sale agreement could be available for public
review as soon as the June 9 city council meeting.