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SDSU former presidents oppose SoccerCity development

SAN DIEGO — San Diego State University’s campaign against the proposed SoccerCity development in Mission Valley ramped up Tuesday when a group of former student government presidents announced their opposition and launched a website called ProtectSDSU.com.

The project would replace Qualcomm Stadium with a joint-use soccer and college football stadium, a 60-acre river park, housing, offices and commercial buildings.

SDSU officials, however, covet the 166 acres — just a short trolley ride from the main campus — for expansion. School officials said last week that they cut off negotiations with the developers, led by FS Investors of La Jolla.

“On behalf of the Past Presidents Council who represent more than 300,000 SDSU alumni, we are formally announcing our opposition to the FS Investors plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site,” said Frederick Pierce, spokesperson for the council. “The university made clear last week that the current terms and conditions of the FS Investors’ initiative do not and cannot meet SDSU’s needs.”

A seven-item wish list released by SDSU that outlines future needs should be incorporated into the project “at a minimum,” according to the council, which noted that 97 percent of past presidents endorsed their position.

“For us, the bottom line is that SDSU plays the most important role in the San Diego region in producing an educated workforce to support the local economy with nearly 10,000 graduates each year,” Pierce said.

“SDSU’s landlocked main campus of 238 acres alone cannot adequately accommodate the future physical growth of the university,” he said. “Far too many applicants are denied access to SDSU each year — approximately 8,000 of 80,000 applicants were enrolled in 2016. We need the ability to expand, and that opportunity will be lost forever with the FS initiative.”

The council asked SDSU alumni to express their opposition to the project to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer — who has endorsed the project — and the City Council, and to request that the city request proposals from other would- be developers.

On Monday, elections officials announced that FS Investors had collected enough valid petition signatures to force the City Council to approve the project outright or place it before voters. The council, in its statement, also called on alumni to cast a “no” vote when an election is held.