SDSU West vs SoccerCity: SoccerCity

Dorian Uson, Editor-in-Chief

After the San Diego Chargers announced their transfer to Los Angeles in January 2017, the City of San Diego has needed a use for the Mission Valley and Murphy Canyon properties that were inhabited by the Chargers. The California Midterm Elections are taking place on Nov. 6, in order to decide the future of Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego County ballots include two measures; Measure E-SoccerCity initiative, and Measure G-SDSU West initiative. Both measures include plans for a river walk.

The SoccerCity initiative lays out plans by a privately funded redevelopment of the property that is currently owned by the city of San Diego.

The SoccerCity initiative covers 233 acres of property. “If approved by voters, this measure would adopt a development agreement, change the City’s planning documents and land development regulations to exempt the development from existing regulations that conflict with this measure, provide new regulations, and create a specific development plan. The development plan allows various residential, commercial, and recreational uses” states the Voter’s Edge California website. However, the plan does not guarantee the specifications of the development. “Potential uses of the stadium property include: a new stadium with up to 32,000 seats, a 34-acre river park, 12 acres of active use fields, 9 acres of neighborhood parks, 2.4 million square feet of office space, 740,000 square feet of retail space, 4,800 multi-family residential units (including affordable housing and student-focused housing), 450 hotel rooms, a 16-acre stand-alone football stadium for a professional football franchise,” the website states the potential uses for the property. The Murphy Canyon property will potentially be used as a practice and lodging area for home and away teams.

If approved by voters, the development will be controlled by the property for at least 99 years. According to the Voter’s Edge California website, the measure is not guaranteeing that a soccer team will be coming to San Diego. “Amends the San Diego Municipal Code to establish the process for leasing the properties, including: defining who is eligible to lease the properties, setting terms that must be included in the lease, and granting the Mayor authority to approve the lease without City Council approval; Adopts a specific plan for development that allows various residential, commercial, and recreational uses to be built without public hearings for development applications that are consistent with the development plan, approves a development agreement granting the right to build the facilities included in the development plan; and amends other existing land use regulations and plans to be consistent with the development plan.”

According to the San Diego City Clerk office website, Soccer City will be 100% privately funded. “… to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego and build an exciting new stadium for professional soccer and SDSU football. A sports and entertainment district will include new restaurants, outdoor concerts, youth playing fields and more.”

The financial impact of Measure E on the city is expected to be less impactful than Measure G. “This payment would be based on fair market value as of March 2017, but could be adjusted to account for stadium demolition costs, environmental requirements, and other factors. In June 2017, the properties’ appraised value was identified as $110 million. Precise payments are subject to future negotiation and currently unknown, but total payment cannot fall below $10,000.” Other financial effects of the SoccerCity initiative include San Diego City staff resources and time to approve the developments, control and prevent environmental contamination, and build a river park. “Indirect fiscal impacts include expenses and revenues from new economic activity associated with development of the properties. Research commissioned by initiative proponents suggests full development of the properties could increase the properties’ assessed value by $3.6 billion, which could increase the City’s property tax receipts. Upon completion of full development, City expenditures to provide service to the properties could total $10 million annually.”

For more information, check out the San Diego Taxpayers Association Cross-Comparison of Options for Mission Valley City, published in June.