Voters reject SoccerCity initiative

SAN DIEGO — A proposal to redevelop the SDCCU Stadium site with a professional soccer stadium was handily rejected by voters, who favored a competing plan that will include a new stadium for San Diego State University football, according to final election totals released Wednesday.

Voters on Tuesday resoundingly shot down Measure E, the so-called SoccerCity initiative, with “no” votes totaling 70 percent. With all San Diego County precincts reporting, roughly 30 percent of voters favored competing Measure G, the SDSU West Initiative.

“With the overwhelming approval of Measure G today, San Diego State University will now have an opportunity to grow through an open and transparent process that will benefit our economy long-term,” according to a statement from the Friends of SDSU alumni group, the measure’s main supporter. “Even more importantly this vibrant campus expansion will increase access to higher education for generations of San Diegans to come.”

Backers of Measure E and Measure G campaigned for more than a year to redevelop the stadium site into a mix of commercial and residential space, a river park and, centrally, a new stadium for football or a potential professional soccer team.

Measure E, the SoccerCity initiative, would have included a 23,000- seat soccer stadium that could have been expanded for San Diego State University football. Measure G, the SDSU West initiative, includes a 35,000- seat stadium for Aztec football. Crucially, according to multiple SDSU West supporters, Measure G includes a planned campus extension while Measure E did not explicitly state that one would be included.

SDSU originally discussed the expansion with the La Jolla-based investment group FS Investors. The deal fell through in May 2017, leading FS Investors begin the Measure E campaign later that year. SDSU officials subsequently unveiled a proposed measure of their own, Measure G.

SDSU West gained public support from a broad and bipartisan coalition of local organizations and politicians, prompting criticism from SoccerCity Project Manager Nick Stone.

“While Measure G has been courting politicians and city hall insiders, we’ve been working to earn the support of regular San Diegans who are excited about SoccerCity and appreciate that Measure E will produce twice as much tax revenue for the city as Measure G, pay fair market value for the land, provide for SDSU’s needs and transform the site into a place that offers something for everyone — all at no cost to taxpayers,” Stone said

SDSU West supporters included San Diego County Supervisors Kristin Gaspar, Diane Jacob and Greg Cox, the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club, the San Diego County Democratic Party and San Diego City Council members Barbara Bry, Lorie Zapf, Chris Ward, Myrtle Cole and David Alvarez.

SoccerCity received less public support from local elected officials, but supporters noted that former Olympic soccer stars Landon Donovan and Shannon MacMillan supported the initiative. In addition, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 7 City Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the district that includes the stadium site, supported SoccerCity.