100,000 signatures in favor of SoccerCity go to registrar

More than 100,000 petition signatures have been submitted to the county Registrar of Voters office in favor of SoccerCity.

SAN DIEGO — The group behind the SoccerCity development proposal in Mission Valley turned in more than 100,000 petition signatures Monday to the county Registrar of Voters office.

The signatures are in support of an initiative that calls for replacing Qualcomm Stadium with a hybrid professional soccer-college football stadium, residences, office space, parkland and an entertainment district.

“We are overwhelmed with the level of support this plan has received,” said Nick Stone, the project manager.

“The fact that more than 100,000 people signed the petition in less than two week’s time speaks volumes to the enthusiasm that San Diegans feel for this proposal, which will bring the world’s most popular sport — soccer — to San Diego, provide a new home for SDSU football, create an iconic park along the San Diego River, as well as an exciting sports and entertainment district — all at no cost to taxpayers,” Stone said.

If nearly 72,000 of the signatures prove to be valid, the San Diego City Council would be required to either approve the plans or place them before voters, likely in a special election in November.

The developers, led by FS Investors, announced earlier this month that they would request an election. If the initiative passes, the developers would have stronger protections against legal challenges if passed in a public vote than they would with just City Council approval.

The registrar’s office has 30 days to validate the signatures.

A rendering of the proposed “SoccerCity” redevelopment project in Mission Valley.

Along with Nick Stone, the development group includes La Jolla businessman Mike Stone, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman, technology entrepreneurs Massih and Masood Tayebi, Padres owner Peter Seidler and retired soccer great Landon Donovan.

They’ve applied to Major League Soccer for an expansion franchise to play in the new stadium.

The 166-acre property became available when the Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles. City officials are hoping to stop operating Qualcomm Stadium following the 2018 college football season because of high maintenance costs.

San Diego State’s football team is expected to play two seasons in Petco Park while the replacement facility is built.