Chargers want downtown stadium, mayor doesn’t, isn’t this where we came in?

San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos has decided where he wants a new stadium, and it’s not where the city wants one to go:

“We believe that a downtown multi-use facility will attract broad support from throughout our entire community,” the Chargers said Tuesday in a written statement.

Cue the city officials:

“Most experts we’ve talked to have concluded that building a stadium downtown — on land not owned by either the city or the Chargers — would increase costs by hundreds of millions of dollars and take years longer to complete,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts said in a joint statement.

Yeah, this whole reboot of the Chargers stadium battle is going about as smoothly as you’d expect. Yes, the team can potentially get around environmental impact laws by going straight to a voter initiative, as it did for its now-defunct stadium project in Carson, but polls show that it’d be tough to win a vote with any substantial amount of public funding, and Spanos still doesn’t want to build anywhere without a significant chunk of taxpayer change, so there’s that. Unless the promise of $100 million in added NFL stadium cash and the fear of having to be Stan Kroenke’s tenant in Inglewood is enough to make Spanos open his wallet wider — but if it is, he certainly won’t be tipping his hand about it now, not until he sees what he can get out of the city. Say, shouldn’t we have some renderings to distract us about now?

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17 comments on “Chargers want downtown stadium, mayor doesn’t, isn’t this where we came in?

  1. Dean Spanos and Mark Davis live in that delusional dream world of the NFL. However, this matter reverts to aspects of my comments on a previously related story.
    San Diego provided public funding for a new downtown stadium for the Padres. Did they believe that one day the Chargers wouldn’t want the same thing?

  2. San Diego has more leverage than some other cities, in that it’s population is still growing at a decent clip. They should just wait it out.

  3. I think what is starting to be noticed is that people really don’t care that much, outside of the sportswriter and civic booster segments of San Diego.

    This really isn’t much of a surprise. Even in the alternate reality of sports, not many people would claim an NFL team is the source of urban prosperity.

  4. Most interesting in the Chargers’ statement was the implication that a combined stadium/convention center would “save Comic Con” — an assertion that representatives of the yearly event immediately countered in their own statement, emphasizing that they’ve never spoken to the Chargers and the organizers of the convention continue to prefer a contiguous expansion of the existing convention center.

    This is yet another example of the Chargers making it up as they go along and — in spite of their recent “play nice” attitude towards the city — pretty much refusing to understand the needs of the convention industry (let alone the hoteliers, who I’m sure loooooooove the idea of sharing any TOT increase).

  5. Neil,
    Regarding:
    ““Most experts we’ve talked to have concluded that building a stadium downtown — on land not owned by either the city or the Chargers ” –
    So who owns the land where a downtown stadium would be built based on the Chargers’ proposal?

  6. I don’t think they’ve settled on one exact parcel, but the city and the Chargers don’t own any land in East Village:

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/23/chargers-downtown-decision-stadium-jmi/

  7. From what I’m reading 11 different property owners including the MTS own land the so called “Convadium” would sit on. None have agreed to sell as yet including MTS who has said it would be a very timely and expensive process to move their bus yard and conclude an environmental cleanup of the site.

    And I too found the comments by Comic-Con very revealing regarding the “Convadium”. The Chargers haven’t bothered consulting anyone other than the obstructionist lawyer Cory Briggs. If I didn’t know any better I’d say the Chargers are pushing this plan BECAUSE it has such a high likelihood of failure. That way they can paint the city and mayor as the bad guys and try to maintain some semblance of a fan base in San Diego after they move to LA.

  8. Found some vaportecture and location (or can i coin a new FoS word: “speculocation”) here:

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/23/stadium-situation-is-so-perfectly-san-diego/

  9. Looks like there’s a whole lot of stuff currently on that site, including the Mission Brewery, a small apartment building, and various other restaurants and offices. It’s never impossible to buy out multiple owners/leases like that, but it’s also not usually the kind of thing you can get done in a year.

  10. I agree with Dan, Spanos wants to make this as tough as possible so he can leave and keep part of the SD fan base by stating he tried one last ditch effort.

    This makes zero sense to me, the Mission Valley site can be built on now without having to buy out other businesses.

    I see Spanos’ point on the entertainment district for the Super Bowl but it is far fetched.

  11. Acee’s approach is so sportswriterish. The public should act in accordance with the interests of sportswriters, after all!

    1. One could guess that if people vote against a ballot initiative they don’t “hope” it will pass. Also not clear why the mayor would dump political capital on a stadium that his own voters disapproved and that he doesn’t like himself.

    2. Apparently people only want to go out and have fun in cities that will host the Super Bowl every 10-15 years. Without a stadium, what chance would there be that someone would open a restaurant or a bar or a hotel? That’s 10 awesome business days a year they’d be missing out on.

    3. I’m getting the idea that being in a beautiful city with great weather is of absolutely no interest to the convention industry.

  12. Neil. And with no more RDA funds, there is limited ability to purchase those properties with TIF mechanisms.

  13. Certainly if I owned one of those parcels I would try and squeeze every last dime out of the buyers as well. And if I got eminent domained I’d try and tie it up in court for absolutely as long as possible.

  14. Spanos needs a video of a football hitting the ground and sending a revitalizing shockwave throughout San Diego. I’ve heard that gets stadium (and arenas) done.

  15. I doubt this move is about saving face with current Chargers fans in the hopes they’ll not abandon the team in LA. All but the most naive fans see this as a not in good faith move by the team.

    Here are my guesses:

    1) cost savings

    The cost of buying out of the Qualcomm lease drops each year by a few million dollars. Milk 1-2 seasons of free rent at Qualcomm and have a lower lease buyout -or- pay rent at the Coliseum and have a higher lease buyout.

    2) delaying the possible Raiders’ next move

    The longer the Chargers string this along, the momentum of the Raiders potentially sliding into the SD vacuum dissipates. I’m speculating Spanos hates the possibility of being second fiddle in LA with the Raiders in San Diego. The longer the Bolts can drag this out, the more likely the Raiders will sniff somewhere else.

    3) no point in rushing off LA while the team sucks

    They can get 1-2 years of rebuilding done and be more competitive by the time they move. Not going to be easy to win people’s hearts if the team is bad, especially since the brand is a distant 3rd in popularity.

  16. The old Wonderbread Factory is included in the parcel being eyed by the Chargers, with that building being occupied by a fairly wide array of business. It would be interesting to learn the length of these leases. I’m not sure if they are still there, but as of late 2014 a portion of that building was being leased by the New School of Architecture and Design.

  17. I think the Chargers have missed the obvious solution here.

    Ask the city to eminent domain themselves (I know it’s not necessary, obviously, but we don’t have time for rational discussion or solutions), demolish Petco and surroundings, and build a 70,000 seat football stadium there instead, followed by a new baseball park somewhere else (hey, maybe at the Jack Murphy site?).

    Everybody wins. Especially the taxpayer because they get two new facilities that they can’t afford to enter and will literally be plagued with superbowls and world baseball classic finals/qualifiers every half decade or so for at least a decade before having to do this all over again.

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