Group pushing for pro-soccer team unveils Mission Valley site plan

SAN DIEGO – A group of investors rolled out their proposal Monday with intensions of bringing a Major League Soccer team to San Diego.

The FS Investors, made up of wealthy businessmen led by Michael Stone, plan to spend billions of dollars on a massive sports and entertainment complex in Mission Valley, where the former San Diego Chargers played at Qualcomm Stadium.

“We will not use any government subsidies,” said Steve Altman, a partner in the FS group. “We want this process to be completely transparent.”

Their plan features:

  •  Creating 55 acres of parkland, including an expanded San Diego River Park and six community recreation fields
  •  Building a state-of-the-art stadium for professional soccer and collegiate football that could serve San Diego State, and also be the new home of high school football and soccer championship games
  •  Creating a Sports & Entertainment District with restaurants, shops, bars and live music
  •  Establishing a transit-oriented, mixed-use development that would includes:
    • 3,520 market-rate residential units
    • 800 student-focused residential units
    • 480 affordable housing units
    • 2.4 million square feet of office space
    • 740,000 square feet of commercial space
    • 2 hotels with the potential for up to 450 total rooms total

The group boosts that their plan would establish the "quickest path to completely eliminate the City's over a quarter-billion dollar liability of operating Qualcomm Stadium."

Their proposal claims some land would be set aside to build an NFL stadium – should the city attract a new team.

San Diego State University officials did not immediately back the plan. They released a statement after the unveiling:

"We have reviewed the renderings and descriptions presented by FS Investors and we wish to clarify two critical issues: First, given the proposed density of development in the stadium area, there is no prospect for future expansion to 40,000 seats. Second, while the proposed gift of stadium ownership may convey tax advantages to FS Investors, it conveys no revenue or rights of ownership normally associated with a gift. We look forward to working with the Mayor, the City Council and the San Diego community to construct a mixed-use stadium that will serve the needs of SDSU's top 25-football program."

Nick Stone, a partner in the FS group, released a response to SDSU's statement:

"We have great respect for San Diego State and believe we can reach a solution that meets the needs of both the City’s taxpayers - who own the property - as well as the university. We have been talking with SDSU for months and are happy to explain in the appropriate forum how we have addressed their two issues.  We will continue to work with them because it is in the best interest of the City, the taxpayers and both of our respective fans.  We believe our plan is the best for the City because it doesn't involve giving away public land and creates a huge win for the City's taxpayers - more money for City services and more money for our children’s schools. Our plan also includes the construction of a river park consistent with the San Diego River Park Foundation's goals and objectives.  It does all of this without any taxpayer subsidy.  If another plan exists that exceeds these benefits, it should be presented for the public's consideration for full transparency. It's what the public and the taxpayers deserve. In the meantime, we look forward to working proactively with City leaders to advance our solution for all parties."

The FS group plans to start collecting signatures for a citywide ballot initiative by end of the week.