SoccerCity proposal qualifies for special election

SAN DIEGO – The group behind the proposed SoccerCity development collected enough valid petition signatures to require the San Diego City Council to either consider approving the Mission Hills project or placing it before voters, the city clerk reported Monday.

The developers, led by La Jolla-based FS Investors, needed nearly 72,000 valid signatures to force council action.

According to the city clerk’s office, a sampling of 3 percent of the 108,000 signatures submitted last month resulted in a projection that well over 81,000 would be valid, or 110 percent of the required total.

The developers proposed building a 60-acre park along the San Diego River, replacing aging Qualcomm Stadium with a smaller facility that would host soccer and college football games, along with housing, office and commercial buildings. The group has applied for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Scott Sherman endorsed the project last week. The mayor said the proposal “checks all the boxes” for the city’s goals for the 166-acre property, which was made available by the Chargers’ decision to move to Los Angeles.

Their support came three days after San Diego State University, which has long eyed the land for campus expansion, broke off negotiations regarding the project and called for the city to seek competing proposals.

The issue is scheduled to go before the City Council in June.