Acting SDSU president Sally Roush is known as a rough-and-tumble campus infighter and hardnosed negotiator.
  • Acting SDSU president Sally Roush is known as a rough-and-tumble campus infighter and hardnosed negotiator.
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Just as the San Diego city council was disposing of the controversial SoccerCity development in Mission Valley on Monday, June 20, the California State University system, proprietor of San Diego State, issued a call for high-powered developer talent.

CSU chancellor Timothy White

CSU chancellor Timothy White

The so-called request for qualifications, posted online, is dated three days hence, June 23, likely betraying the anxiousness of state university officials to catch up to the La Jolla hedge fund mavens whose initiative drive still has a shot at privatizing Qualcomm Stadium come election time in November 2018.

“The California State University is a leader in high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education,” says the document issued by the office of university chancellor Timothy White.

“To assist the CSU in meeting the mission of its universities, the acquisition of property or the development of public-private partnership projects may take place which require real estate financial advisory services.”

The university system, according to the document, “intends to select a limited number of the most highly qualified firms capable of providing a high level of real estate financial advisory services involving complex projects” as early as this October.

“It is intended to establish Master Enabling Agreements with such firms, and to provide CSU campuses with the ability to negotiate scope and cost for the development of advisories with such firms.”

Tasks awaiting the experts include “public-private deal structuring, including financial structure, alternative financing options, and assessment of equity participation,” as well as “evaluation of outside funding sources,” and “analysis for public-private partnerships, potentially to include developments on ground leased CSU property, lease-leaseback transactions, and alternative ownership positions.”

Insiders say some high-level advice might have come in handy during the year-long series of secret meetings between SDSU president Elliot Hirshman, mayor Kevin Faulconer, and the SoccerCity developers that blew up last month with the university calling for “a transparent [Request for Proposal] process “to develop a plan that will accomplish the community’s vision for this vital property and serve the San Diego region for decades to come.”

That caused SoccerCity partner Nick Stone to lash out at Hirshman, saying the exiting president was “moving the goal posts” in their negotiations.

Stone subsequently blasted what he claimed was interference in the Hirshman talks by former city manager Jack McGrory, a major player on the board of SDSU’s Campanile Foundation, who Stone charged was affiliated with a competing effort by ex-U-T publisher Doug Manchester to redevelop the Qualcomm site.

“We were perplexed by the university’s sudden disengagement after we reached agreement and even more so by their subsequent refusal of any further discussions,” Stone told the Union-Tribune.

“Now we come to learn that while Jack was leading negotiations for the university, he was simultaneously part of a project team pursuing its own plan for the same site.” Both McGrory and Manchester denied any deal between them was afoot.

How much the state university system is prepared to pay its newly recruited high-dollar real estate talent remains to be seen, though independent observers expect taxpayers to ultimately be on the hook for at least seven or eight figures as the tug-of-war with Stone and company rages on.

Acting SDSU president Sally Roush, who will be getting the same $428,645 annual salary as the exiting Hirshman during her interim reign, is known as a rough-and-tumble campus infighter and hardnosed negotiator from her earlier stint as SDSU’s vice president of business and financial affairs.

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monaghan June 20, 2017 @ 10:28 p.m.

I can't wait to see who SDSU picks to guide it into the thicket of "public-priavte deal structuring" concerning real estate. Buddies and bros of SDSU, the prime incubator of our local political leadership, will be lining up at the new defining entry gate. (Wasn't that gate a Jack McGrory idea too?)


beernsports June 21, 2017 @ 6:15 a.m.

I have been watching Doug Manchester buy or sucker San Diego politicians for about 3 decades now. Now he's got the Democrat council members and people like Donna Frye and Corey Briggs who claim to care about a river park and affordable housing doing his dirty work and killing the project that had the park and affordable housing on the front end of the project rather than decades down the road. The guy is an evil genius. At least FSI has set the bar high with its offer to pay the full $110 million value of the property and build the river park. When Doug and his buddies finally do come out with a real plan watch him sucker those same City Council members into giving away the store.


aardvark June 21, 2017 @ 9:48 a.m.

Although I can't find it, I would swear that the $110 million figure for the Qualcomm site is less than what it was back in 2003, when the Chargers claimed they wanted to build a new stadium on the site.


Visduh June 21, 2017 @ 7:36 a.m.

There are some unstated assumptions being made about the stadium property and its ultimate use. SDSU has no claim to that area at all. If the CSU system wants some (or all) of it, the answer would be to pony up a price that reflects its full value. Whatever plan eventually emerges and is implemented, It likely will not have SDSU paying full price for the land it gets. That campus now is crowded and the facilities are often second-rate. So, its popularity seems inexplicable to me. But it gets many, many applications. If it gets more space, the outcome will be to allow the student body to expand. Might it make more sense for the CSU system to declare that SDSU is as big as it is going to get? And might the next step be adding a new CSU campus to the county, one in So County?

beernsports seems convinced that the SoccerCity proposal is superior to anything that is likely to come along. A large part of my misgivings about it is the unseemly haste that surrounds it and its biggest political backer, Faulconer. That property isn't going away, and allowing some time for others to come up with proposals doesn't cause harm. As it stands, the SoccerCity ballot measure will get a vote next year. There's a good chance that if it passes, it will be tied up in court for a long time, given some of its weaknesses and questionable language.


monaghan June 21, 2017 @ 10:59 p.m.

I'm with beernsports 100%. And I'm with Visduh vis a vis San Diego State having no claim to more land in Mission Valley. Let's do as Rich Gibson recommends and get another CSU campus in South Bay to deal with overcrowding at SDSU. And let's get this qualified measure before the voters for a decision in the fall of 2017 so that any chance for a major league soccer franchise in San Diego is maximized.


MURPHYJUNK June 22, 2017 @ 7:14 a.m.

seems like sdsu wants a prime location just to boost some egos


Visduh June 22, 2017 @ 5:56 p.m.

And to boost the salaries of the top administrators on the campus, who will get raises proportional to the increased size of the student body.


Fred Williams June 24, 2017 @ 12:53 a.m.

CSU claims to offer, "high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education".

Okay. So what has that got to do with sports? How does education go along with SDSU's expensive yet always losing football program, for example?

Maybe we could phrase it as a simple question:

  1. Education is to Brain Injury

a. as Medicine is to Wound

b. as Football is to Intellect

c. as Administrators are to Teaching

d. as Money is to Morality

Nobody can defend what the co-mingling of sports and education has created in America, from grade school to universities. Football and cheering replace learning and culture, substituting force and superficiality for erudition and achievement.

SDSU can actually afford to provide a great deal more high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education by eliminating the sports teams entirely, and redirecting the coaches salaries to actual professors, or replacing the massive playing fields and training complexes to educational uses.


Psycholizard July 1, 2017 @ 3:58 p.m.

Why not use the Stadium Land for parking, and develop SDSU parking lots? Using the trolley to get between classes seems absurd.


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