DeMaio releases ‘no tax’ Chargers stadium plan

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SAN DIEGO — Former Councilman Carl DeMaio and a group of developers and contractors Thursday released a plan for a $1.5 billion football stadium in San Diego that they say will not depend on tax increases or public financial contributions.

DeMaio, now a talk show host on KOGO radio, is aiming his plan for a Nov. 15 special election.

“I’m frustrated that the Chargers and city politicians have created a situation where we are forced to choose between a massive tax hike and public subsidy for the team or losing the team altogether,” DeMaio said in an email.

The 68,500-seat stadium would be managed by a private entity instead of the city, and include a 250-room all-suite hotel, nightclub and 200,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, he said.

The plan promoted by the Chargers would couple a stadium with a convention center annex, and would raise the city’s hotel room tax to 16.5 percent. The tax is currently 10.5 percent, plus a 2 percent fee that pays for tourism promotion.

The Chargers recently submitted nearly 111,000 petition signatures in support of a proposed ballot measure for the November general election. The signatures are being verified by the Registrar of Voters Office.

DeMaio said his proposal would also protect plans to expand the convention center at its current location, the method preferred by tourism officials. The expansion project has been tied up in litigation for several years, however.

Funding sources he listed include, among other things, hotel and retail developers, the National Football League and Chargers, naming rights, and an investment system he called “Fan-Lord Stadium Shares,” which he said work like personal seat licenses but give the purchaser a stadium ownership stake.

He suggested a process in which the mayor and City Council would decide on which non-football uses would be included in the project and select a site between downtown, Mission Valley and the Port of San Diego’s 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. The eventual location would drive the design and financing of the facility.

The Chargers didn’t immediately comment on the plan.

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