California State University officials are warming up their board of trustees for next year's big game in San Diego, otherwise known as San Diego State University's showdown with SoccerCity over title to the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm.
But a report to be presented by SDSU interim president Sally Roush at a November 7 trustees' meeting in Long Beach is light on some details of the approaching encounter, rapidly emerging as the costliest ballot war in San Diego history.
"The City of San Diego has announced that it no longer wants to own and operate the stadium, and is considering options to release its interest in the stadium and associated 233 acres of real property for other potential development," says the document, entitled “San Diego State University Potential Mission Valley Campus Expansion.”
"Because of the city’s decision, SDSU is currently assessing the opportunity to acquire the Mission Valley stadium site," the item goes on to say without discussing costs or the ugly dustup that has already materialized between the SoccerCity forces and university backer and ex–city manager Jack McGrory.
"SDSU is currently engaged in due diligence regarding the site in order to be prepared for the possibility of its future acquisition."
Per the report, "SDSU envisions potential use of the site to achieve the following goals: 1) expand its educational, research, entrepreneurial and technology transfer programs and facilities; 2) house more upper-division and graduate students; 3) provide faculty and staff housing to assist in the recruitment and retention of nationally recognized talent; and 4) build a new multi-use 35,000-seat stadium for the Aztec football team and other potential sports partners."
The item then goes on to note that "ballot initiatives are planned or being planned by at least two interest groups to influence the City of San Diego’s release of the stadium site," and it's not too hard to figure out which side the interim president is rooting for.
According to the report, "The Friends of SDSU Initiative is supported by SDSU alumni and civic leaders who envision the site re-developed to serve higher education, the public good, and the community’s goals."
On the other hand, according to Roush, there is SoccerCity, "supported by FS Investors, a private investment entity which, by the terms of the initiative, would provide private investors access to re-develop the full stadium site. Coined 'SoccerCity,' the project would include a soccer stadium and hotel."
Concludes the Roush report, "Depending on the results of the outcome of the two initiatives and the current due diligence process, the campus may return to the trustees at a future date as appropriate. Whether or not either ballot initiative passes, there is no obligation for SDSU to acquire the site. Any future action regarding the acquisition would require returning to the Board of Trustees for their review and approval."
Because the item is docketed as informational, no vote is expected, but there could be statements by some of the 17 boardmembers, including vice-chairman Adam Day, the SDSU alumnus who was point man for Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer's bid last year to approve Proposition C.
That ultimately defeated measure would have provided a hefty public subsidy for a downtown Chargers venue, clearing the way for redevelopment of the city-owned Qualcomm Stadium site, coveted by both SDSU and SoccerCity's FS Investors.
It subsequently came to light that Faulconer, a SoccerCity backer, had held a series of unannounced meetings with the FS group and its promoters in the months before and after the November vote on the proposed Chargers deal downtown.