San Diego unveils stadium plan to keep Chargers from leaving

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SAN DIEGO — A new football stadium for San Diego should be financed with a mix of financial contributions from the city and county of San Diego, the Chargers and the NFL, plus bond and land sales, a nine-member advisory group appointed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer recommended Monday.

A report released by the group two days before its deadline said no new taxes would be included, so that a two-thirds vote of the public would not be required. Funding sources would exceed $1.4 billion, according to the report.

“We developed a financing plan that would actually succeed in this unique San Diego environment, ensuring that it is fair for the Chargers and other tenants, fair for the city and county, and fair for taxpayers,” said Adam Day, chairman of the Chargers Stadium Advisory Group.

Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group Unveils Finance Plan

“Our plan is the first of its kind, and it should jump-star negotiations between the Chargers, the city and the county,” Day said, adding that the recommendations provide “a fair and workable path to a new stadium in San Diego.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted which was a menu of options,” said Mayor Kevin Faculoner.

Faulconer said the plan provides a first step from which his team can work from.

“For the first time we have a starting point that makes a lot of sense and I’m looking forward to beginning negotiations,” said the Mayor.

He said he has put together a team of outside experts, a city/county team and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to review the plan submitted by the task force.

“I’m sure there’s some of the ideas in this framework that will make it some that may not,” said Faulconer.

He said despite the no public vote required in CSAG’s financing plan, he would be moving forward.

“I remain committed to the public vote, I think it’s the absolute right thing to do and I’m convinced San Diegans will support a fair plan that makes sense,” said Faulconer.

The task force has already recommended that the new facility be located adjacent to Qualcomm Stadium, which would be razed to make way for the development and a park alongside the San Diego River.

“They didn’t overstate numbers or understate numbers to make the argument, they’re very realistic,” said Kris Michell, President & CEO of The Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Michell’s organization had lobbied for the new stadium to be located in the East Village and lost, but she praised the plan.

“I think by far it is the best proposal I’ve seen in the 13 years we’ve been in San Diego,” said Michell.

Michelle called it a win-win for everyone, Charger fan or not.

“We could actually solve the problem keep the Chargers in SD and have extra money for infrastructure, potholes and things like that,” said Michell.

“It provides wiggle room, it provides room to grow, it’s extremely fair, anyone who’s not excited about this should be,” said Shawne Merriman, Pro-Bowler and Former San Diego Charger Linebacker.

Merriman has been working closely with the task force and has been in contact with Charger owner Dean Spanos, he said he did not see any room for rejection with the plan submitted by CSAG.

“How can’t you, you know? It’s a great, great plan,” said Merriman.

The next step will be for the Mayor and his team to begin negotiations, Faulconer said he is aiming for June 1st.  The city and county of San Diego jointly hired Nixon Peabody, which has consulted on 25 stadium projects, and Citigroup, which has been involved in raising money to build stadiums recently in Atlanta, New York and Orlando.

Mark Fabiani, Lead Counsel for the Chargers said CSAG’s plan is now in the hands of its’ Stadium Development team.  The consists of finance, land and legal experts and it is under review.  He did not give any indication of how it was being received.

The Chargers have been pushing for a new playing facility for more than a dozen years, and have recently taken steps to build a joint $1.7 billion stadium with the rival Oakland Raiders in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson. The proposed 72,000-seat facility off the San Diego (405) Freeway is considered to be a backup plan for both teams in case they aren’t able to forge agreements in their current cities.

Also, the owner of the St. Louis Rams is planning to build an 80,000- seat stadium in Inglewood, another Los Angeles suburb.

The funding breaks down to:

  •  $300 million from the Chargers;
  •  $200 million from the National Football League;
  •  $225 million from the sale of 75 acres of Qualcomm Stadium land to a developer;
  •  $173 million of bondable construction capital from the team’s rent;
  •  $121 million from the city of San Diego;
  •  $121 million from the county of San Diego; and
  •  more than $100 million from fans in the form of personal seat licenses, and surcharges on parking and tickets.

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