Stadium Task Force picks Mission Valley for future Chargers Stadium

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – On Wednesday, the Stadium Task Force announced Mission Valley had been picked as the site to build a new Chargers stadium, rejecting the team’s preferred site of downtown.

On Thursday, the task force is expected to say why they picked Mission Valley in a news conference.

Selecting Mission Valley has set up a bruising battle between the downtown business interests and Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani.

Aside from the in-fighting between the hoteliers, and Mark Fabiani over hotel taxes, and Convention Center financing, a major problem with downtown is relocating the MTS Bus Yard, East of Petco Park.

The CEO of the Metropolitan Transit System, Paul Jablonski, never said it could not be done, but warned it would take several million dollars to relocate the bus yard, and anywhere from five to seven years to complete.

By then, the Chargers contract at Qualcomm would have expired.

“The environmental review has to take its process. We have to negotiate an agreement with the Chargers and/or the city in order to fund it. We’d have to acquire a site, and all this really takes time,” said Jablonski.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani remains critical. He said that time frame estimate comes from a self-interested organization that does not want to move.

The Chargers own study from Turner Construction said there are no major issues preventing the development of a stadium.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer had the following to say about his advisory group rejecting the downtown site, “I’m looking forward to the group’s determination about the Chargers. They’ve said they were open to both site locations, so I think that’s important. We have to have a site location that we can move forward on, that we can do so quickly, expeditiously, it gives us the best opportunity for success.”

The major opposition to downtown comes from the hotel industry.

Fabiani said the hoteliers call the shots downtown, and led by his nemesis Steve Cushman, they remain adamantly opposed to the Chargers plan to have a convention annex tied to the stadium, blocks away from the Convention Center.

It could also allow hotel taxes to help pay for a stadium.

“I have spoken to numerous hoteliers and they have made it very clear to me that what they want is a continuous Convention Center, and that is what their clients want,” said Cushman.

The hoteliers put together a financing scheme to expand the center with hotel taxes, but it was struck down by the courts. Two other suits are pending challenging the expansion, and environmental issues.

Right now there is no legal mechanism in place to pay for expansion, although Cushman has a new financing plan not yet made public.

The hoteliers position has not changed.

“It would limit us in the size of conventions that we could attract. It would limit us in exhibit halls that we could utilize on a contiguous basis, and that is what our customers continue to tell us. They want contiguous space not only for meetings, but for exhibits,” said Cushman. 

The upcoming battle could be joined as early as Thursday because the Chargers see no path forward at Mission Valley.

Amidst all the changes brought on recently by events in Los Angeles, including the Chargers foray into Carson, it seems nothing has really changed in San Diego.

The Chargers and the city are anything but One-San Diego.

Categories: KUSI