Group picks current site over downtown for Chargers stadium
SAN DIEGO (AP) — An advisory group appointed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer has decided that the best site for a new stadium for the Chargers is at the site of their current stadium in Mission Valley, not downtown.
The decision of the Qualcomm Stadium site could be a deal-breaker for the Chargers, who have threatened to move to a Los Angeles suburb if they don’t get an acceptable deal in San Diego.
The Chargers have been pushing for a downtown stadium as part of a non-contiguous addition to the convention center. That plan has been opposed by downtown hoteliers. It recently became all but moot when the Metropolitan Transit System said it could take up to seven years and $150 million to relocate a bus yard the Chargers want to build on. There also have been concerns about the steep price of land downtown.
Chargers point man Mark Fabiani declined to comment when asked his reaction to the choice of the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley.
The Chargers have been seeking public financing since 2002 to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium, saying they need a new stadium and its revenue sources to better compete with other teams.
The advisory group scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning at Qualcomm Stadium to discuss its choice.
Faulconer is also scheduled to speak with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday about the contentious stadium issue.
In a brief statement Wednesday, the advisory group said the choice of the Qualcomm site came down to cost savings, developable land and transportation options.
In a statement, Faulconer said the Mission Valley site “has been home to the Chargers for nearly 50 years and I know we can make it work for decades to come. Now that they’ve recommended a site, I look forward to the group continuing to move expeditiously on developing a fair and responsible financing plan for a new stadium.”
The advisory group’s timetable was moved up several months after the Chargers and Oakland Raiders announced plans last month to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson if they can’t get new stadiums in their current cities.
The teams were responding to the possibility of the St. Louis Rams moving to Los Angeles. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture that wants to build an 80,000-seat stadium in the L.A. suburb of Inglewood.
In January, Fabiani criticized the formation of the advisory group.
Days before the Chargers announced plans for the Carson stadium, Fabiani warned the advisory group not to come up with any “half-baked” stadium schemes and said the team has “no intention of quietly participating in any effort to provide political cover for elected officials. ... Simply put, we have no intention of allowing the Chargers franchise to be manipulated for political cover — and we will call out any elected official who tries to do so.”
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