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Canepa: For Chargers' stadium efforts, it's one step forward, two back

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by BFISA, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005

    Friday, November 7, 2008

    The Chargers and their new stadium issues are stuck between a rock and hard times. They're now trying to walk down a street of broken American dreams to find a suitable home. And all those foreclosure signs they're seeing along the way tell them this isn't how it was when they first came up with the idea.

    The proposition that would have put a deck on 10th Avenue Marine Terminal – which possibly could have housed a stadium – sadly was a pipe dream that went up in smoke at the polls.

    The defeat of the Chargers' chief antagonist within our borders, City Attorney Mike Aguirre, could have a positive impact, but nothing that can be seen as immediate, possibly nothing whatsoever.

    The possibility of a Chula Vista bayfront site for a stadium remains on hold. A few things must happen for there to be any progress, and the city isn't exactly doing cartwheels through greenbacks. Chula Vista is the foreclosure capital of San Diego County.

    And last, but far from least, is the current worldwide economic crisis. Trying to get a new stadium built in this area, where it's tough to get a pothole filled thanks to City Hall ice chewers, never was going to be easy. Now, constructing one anywhere – and the football team can go wherever it pleases after Feb. 1 if it pays off about $55 million in city debt on the stadium – seems about as likely as Ralph Nader winning a recall.

    “Right now, you couldn't finance it,” says Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, the franchise's point man on stadium issues the past six years. “It would be impossible. The debt markets are so seized up, it would be impractical; it would not be financially feasible.”

    Even if a site existed and a new stadium was approved, construction couldn't begin anytime soon. Cash flow is constipated, backed up.

    But the Chargers aren't about to adjourn. Too much time, effort and money has gone into the project, and if it means they have to ride out this riptide, that's probably what they're going to do.

    There aren't many corporations or big-money folks who've had immunization shots to avoid the pandemic financial flu.

    “If approved, we're looking at years of environmental reviews,” Fabiani says. “Because it's California, there's a minimum of two years of environmental and regulatory reviews, which means you're now several years from having a plan you need to finance it.

    “You have to know you can finance it and expect the economic climate will improve. If not ... well, there's nothing now to keep us from working on the project, and we will continue. I talked to Dean (club President Dean Spanos) this morning, and we did not talk finances. We talked Chula Vista, and how we can't allow the financial crisis to affect plans. You can't do that.”

    Ah, Chula Vista. Two great bayfront sites. On one sits a power plant deemed necessary until – if ever – the state approves a power link. The other, just up the road, is where the massive Gaylord Project sits squarely in limbo.

    “The environmental impact report (on both sites) has been delayed,” Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox says, and those EIRs have nothing to do with a stadium. “It could be February. We haven't even looked into the economic impact. We want to do what we can do to keep the Chargers in San Diego County. But a new stadium is upward of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion now. Who's going to pay for it?

    “We need to develop a regional approach with the city of San Diego. There has to be a different way.”

    The Mike Aguirre Factor? He soon will be out of office, replaced by Jan Goldsmith, so while there could be some light in the city, it's more like a pinpoint.

    “With Aguirre in office, it would have been impossible to get something done in the city,” Fabiani says. “But it's still difficult, because of the constraints at the Qualcomm Stadium site. Our original proposal in 2005 was $450 million (for stadium and housing construction) and $200 million for infrastructure improvements. The cost of the project has doubled, at least.

    “The only thing that hasn't changed is the size of the land, 166 acres. The proposal we made doesn't work economically anymore. It's very difficult, with or without Aguirre.”

    Remember when City Hall balked at putting so much more living space (condos that would have funded the stadium) on the Qualcomm site? Too much traffic. Too much congestion. Funny. With great enthusiasm, it recently approved a huge development near there.

    “We're scratching our heads over that one,” Fabiani says. “Don't think we didn't notice.”

    As long as the team plays in Qualcomm and the building stands, the city will be bathing in red ink. The Chargers have between Feb. 1 and April 30 to inform City Hall if they will stay or go, and it will remain that way annually until the lease expires after the 2019 season.

    The numbers Fabiani gives are inflated, but let's be on the safe side. If the Chargers were to remain in Qualcomm until the end of their lease, given the fact the city puts millions a year into subsidizing the stadium and sooner or later will have to come up with $50 million to $100 million in deferred stadium maintenance, the city taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million.

    The 10th Avenue Terminal proposal, which some laughingly concluded might result in a national security nightmare, is done for now, but it remains the ideal site. There are rumors coming out of City Hall that some of that land – maybe a quarter of its 96 acres – eventually could be used for a new stadium. Qualcomm's prime acreage is losing millions. Tenth Avenue can be put to better use. Some Port activity there could be moved to National City.

    “We always looked at 10th Avenue as a long shot” Fabiani says.

    “I'm a poor predictor of the future, but my expectation is that, come Feb. 1, we'll continue to work in San Diego County and we won't be using our exit clause. That's my guess. It could change.”

    Oh, and, as Cox pointed out, Chula Vista voters have OK'd a city manager position.

    “It could be Mike Aguirre,” Cox says with a sigh. “Nothing to stop him. Heads up.”

    Or, heads down.

    Ice chewers!!
    :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl:
  2. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Johnny, get to work; I've found a replacement for [​IMG], but we need an appropriate smilie!! :yes: :tup: :icon_party: :icon_rofl: :flag:
  3. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005

    I guess we take it one year at a time
  5. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

    Nov 11, 2007
    Anyone know of any groups that are pushing for a stadium? Something the fans can get involved in? Hell, I'd march, donate money, put stickers all over my car, whatever if it meant helping get this all sorted out and a stadium in the works for the bolts....
  6. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

    Aug 8, 2006
    With the economy the way it is I don't think we'll see a new stadium in San Diego anytime soon, maybe by 2010 we can see a site and a pla.

    My only hope is that there is no other city that can build one also, so the Chargers will have to continue to play at the Q.

    Maybe by 2010 the economy gets better, the Chula Vista power plant goes offline and we see something there
    • Like Like x 1
  7. VikingBolt

    VikingBolt BoltTalker

    Oct 8, 2006
    So, what happened to going to Los Angeles? Not a factor at all any more?

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