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San Diego State slick magazine touts Mission Valley plan

Voters still have to approve $250 million project

Mission Valley site plan
Mission Valley site plan

Taxpayer-funded San Diego State University, locked in battle with privately-run SoccerCity over who will get to develop the choice city-owned parcel once known as Qualcomm Stadium, has rolled out a glossy mail piece touting its plans for the property called 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University. Says the publication, “There’s a gratifying sense of coming full circle in San Diego State University’s plans to build a multi-use sports stadium in Mission Valley.” Adds the magazine: “It would be a homecoming of sorts, then, if San Diego voters approve the November ballot initiative to sell SDSU the stadium site and adjoining acreage in Mission Valley. Construction of a new stadium will be part of the initial phase of development on the site. University officials estimate the cost at $250 million for a 35,000-seat stadium at the northwest corner of the site to be financed with donor support, naming rights and sponsorships, long-term bonds, revenue from athletic events and rent from food, beverage and merchandise concessions.”

First, though, the project must be judged by city voters in the form of dueling ballot measures, one mounted by SDSU boosters led by ex-city manager Jack McGrory and the other sponsored by SoccerCity, a group of La Jolla hedge fund mavens who propose to acquire the property privately. SDSU, led by acting president Sally Roush, hasn’t been shy about spending its own money to achieve its druthers in the matter, as indicated by favorable coverage on the university’s website, including maps and graphics aimed at selling the project to voters. “The campus is landlocked within its 288 acres” the presentation asserts. “The Mission Valley site is the only nearby piece of land capable of addressing San Diego State University’s long-term expansion goals.”

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Mission Valley site plan
Mission Valley site plan

Taxpayer-funded San Diego State University, locked in battle with privately-run SoccerCity over who will get to develop the choice city-owned parcel once known as Qualcomm Stadium, has rolled out a glossy mail piece touting its plans for the property called 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University. Says the publication, “There’s a gratifying sense of coming full circle in San Diego State University’s plans to build a multi-use sports stadium in Mission Valley.” Adds the magazine: “It would be a homecoming of sorts, then, if San Diego voters approve the November ballot initiative to sell SDSU the stadium site and adjoining acreage in Mission Valley. Construction of a new stadium will be part of the initial phase of development on the site. University officials estimate the cost at $250 million for a 35,000-seat stadium at the northwest corner of the site to be financed with donor support, naming rights and sponsorships, long-term bonds, revenue from athletic events and rent from food, beverage and merchandise concessions.”

First, though, the project must be judged by city voters in the form of dueling ballot measures, one mounted by SDSU boosters led by ex-city manager Jack McGrory and the other sponsored by SoccerCity, a group of La Jolla hedge fund mavens who propose to acquire the property privately. SDSU, led by acting president Sally Roush, hasn’t been shy about spending its own money to achieve its druthers in the matter, as indicated by favorable coverage on the university’s website, including maps and graphics aimed at selling the project to voters. “The campus is landlocked within its 288 acres” the presentation asserts. “The Mission Valley site is the only nearby piece of land capable of addressing San Diego State University’s long-term expansion goals.”

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Comments
21

I got one of these big full-color magazines in the mail with postage-paid at a non-profit rate. I thought it was a glossy life-style thing sent free to upscale neighborhoods, but no, it was a mashup between rosy status report on (local politicians' favorite) San Diego State University and a full-court press for SDSU's last-minute ballot initiative to get hold of city-owned Mission Valley land for friendly developers to expand the school's footprint.

How is a taxpayer-financed educational institution allowed to shill for its own ballot initiative? Here's hoping original ballot initiative SoccerCity will include this item in its lawsuit against SDSU backers and that SoccerCity's proposal will prevail with voters.

April 25, 2018

SoccerCity is an egregious land grab by sneaky/greedy money people. They cannot be trusted, and certainly not admired for their behavior.

April 26, 2018

Just vote no, and no! It's City land and shouldn't be given away.

April 25, 2018

The land will be paid for at market value, psycholizard. Vote yes, the La Jolla bunch wants to rip everyone off.

Monoghan whines too much, professional whiner. The magazine is paid for with gifts and ads. The question to the voters is not State's. It is private.

April 25, 2018

Barracks? The building layout is reminiscent of public housing in the 1950s. Bureaucrats aren't good at creative thinking, I guess.

Parking? I guess they don't expect cars or delivery trucks on the property. Or maybe parking is in the flood zone below the buildings. Auto owners will want flood insurance.

Sports? Convention center? Is SDSU about sports or education? UCSD is about education and research. They use their property in ways that seriously benefit the local economy. SDSU would do well to follow that example.

Travel? When the bell rings and your class on the mesa is out at 9:50, and your next class is in the valley at 10:00- how do you manage that? It's hard enough to get to classes on time on the existing sprawling campus. Getting in and out of the Valley to other parts of the City will be worse. Mission Valley is already far too crowded.

SDSU can very well live within its current space. Many old buildings can be replaced with more efficient high rise structures. Most important, education will be very different in ten years. Electronics, the internet, enhanced reality and more are coming to students right now. Unimaginable new developments will vastly decrease the need for dedicated real estate for education. The university will fit in a pocket or purse.

This prime property should be retained by the city as a non-commercial public space where corporate naming rights have no place and there will be no advertising. Vendors should be low-key providers who don't make visual or audible noise. Their contracts should be open to public view (no back room deals with political insiders). Such a park will enhance the quality of life for many citizens while attracting tourists, artists, students and stressed out people from LA and the Bay Area. A paradise in the heart of San Diego.

April 25, 2018

There could be a parking garage or two. Can't really tell from the aerial view. But the trolley is close. Also Uber/Lyft will be busy. Plus bicycles/scooters. I don't see a big problem. RE "Convention center?" I didn't see any mention of a convention center in the article. RE "Sports?" UCSD also has sports facilities. It's common at universities, even those that do research!

April 25, 2018

Great argument. However, it is based on the assumption of further technological integration into everyday life, when clearly, there is a developing movement to "disconnect" from the internet, etc.

May 3, 2018

Didn’t the little-lamented Alex Bersin get his hand slapped by election finance monitors for shamelessly corralling his public relations minions to shill on school district time for his Proposition ZZ bond issue in 1998? I guess SDSU will get a tsk-tsk reprimand from those same monitors after the election, win or lose.

April 25, 2018

You can be sure of one thing and that is that the City of San Diego will make the wrong decision when it comes to the stadium property. The City Council could screw up an empty room.

April 26, 2018

If the Council gave an online class to citizens on how to boil water safely, they would burn it.

April 26, 2018

I've said it before and I'll say it again—putting the fate of this property on the ballot is a violation of state law.

California Code 54222 is crystal clear: "Any local agency disposing of surplus land shall send, prior to disposing of that property, a written offer to sell or lease the property as follows," and what follows is the land should first be offered "for the purpose of developing low- and moderate-income housing" then next "for park and recreational purposes or open-space purposes." (And before anyone objects, the city is considered an agency: "Powers and duties common to cities, counties, and other agencies.")

There's been zero effort by the city to follow the law and use this as an opportunity to relieve the housing crisis everyone is shouting about. And the result will be whichever side loses will rightfully sue the city for violating the law, nothing will happen to this site for a decade, and we'll all end up poorer for it.

April 26, 2018

Please, the "housing crisis" is an excuse to densify single-family neighborhoods and kill off the thirty-foot height limit near the coast so that developers can continue to profit from pillaging. "Low and moderate-income housing, park and recreational purposes, open-space" in the middle of Mission Valley? We all know those things will never happen here.

San Diegans will decide what they prefer at the ballot box. SoccerCity can bring us a new soccer-size stadium and the chance to attract a major league soccer team along with other amenities including a River park. So much more fun for so many more people than an expansion of behemoth SDSU into the Valley with development profits going to that institution's usual powerful political McCronies.

April 26, 2018

SDSU plans a River Park. SoccerCity makes no such guarantee of one. And who needs a major league soccer team in San Diego? It about as needed as opera, more shopping malls, or a skating rink.

April 26, 2018

I think there's a big market of soccer-loving adults and kids in and around San Diego who would enjoy and support a soccer team playing in accessible Mission Valley. Neither group is guaranteeing anything, as far as I can tell, but SoccerCity people seem to have had a genuine vision for improving the city's helter-skelter Mission Valley -- far better than SDSU's tardy land-grabbing takeover proposal to reward developer/alum buddies. Since this is America, everybody's a capitalist and in it for some bucks. Also, I'm no fan of our new affordable opera or disorienting new-style shopping malls like UTC, but what's the matter with skating rinks? I know people who book ice time late at night so they can play hockey games. That also sounds like fun.

April 27, 2018

Do you plan to invest in bringing a soccer team to San Diego? Money talks.

April 29, 2018

Are you asking if I am an investor in this proposed venture? No, I am not. But I do like soccer, as does everyone in my family, and I would support a San Diego team and buy tickets to their games. Today's LA Times has an entire section devoted to the opening of LA's new soccer stadium, and there's a full page listing the cities in this country with soccer teams and stadiums seating 30,000 people or less. Of all these places, San Diego seems like t a perfect fit for major league soccer. Soccer would be a step into the future for our town, something new, something fun. I'm keeping hope alive that voters will feel as I do when they vote yes on the SoccerCity ballot initiative.

April 29, 2018

No, San Diego could take "a step into the future" and be a "perfect fit" as an example for the whole state, by instead building thousands of affordable housing units. Let's forget about the big sports plans for now, and get serious about what is really needed by residents here. Watching athletes knocking a ball around a stadium seems trivial by comparison. I'm hoping voters will reject SoccerCity in huge numbers. Let their initiative die. I say: Drive to LA if you want to watch soccer.

April 29, 2018

Talk about folly. We did "affordable housing" in the 1950's, I think, that over time became uninhabitable dangerous slums. Ultimately the projects were destroyed by the same public agencies that authorized them in the first place. Some were low-rise garden apartments -- like the Miami ones depicted in "Moonlight" -- and some were high-rise towers -- like Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, that was finally dynamited. Neither model worked. Maybe we need to work first on fixing homeless human issues instead of homeless housing issues.

May 2, 2018

Nobody said we should repeat the building of the high-rise "projects" as in the past, or low-rise garden apartments. That's old news and a specious argument to put forth. Getting homeless into housing is part of the "human issues" you mention. Duh! As for affordable housing now, the low-income Atmosphere apt. building at 4th & Beech downtown is a new example. Check it out. There's another apt. building (LGBT-oriented) on the west side of Texas and Howard in North Park that just opened.

May 3, 2018

I know literally no one in my family who even watches sports on TV anymore, let alone shell out $300+ to take a family to a Padre game. Have you all been paying attention to the Padres and Petco? The only reason it happened was due to the real estate transactions that benefited J. Moores. In order for progress to occur, there needs to be some sort of selfish motivation. Basically "TANSTAAFL". In addition, how, in a place with 335 days of sunshine, is a sport that is not one of the big 3, going to consume that much acreage of precious San Diego valley land? That makes no sense. What does make sense is to let SDSU develop further. The economic benefit of the expansion of UCSD still reverberates to this day. We should be trying to replicate this same structure with SDSU.

May 3, 2018

Thanks for the voice of reason. But unreasonable people don't listen.

May 3, 2018

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