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Chargers paint vote on study as crucial

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, May 21, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006


    Team releases drawing of $800 million proposal

    Originally published May 21, 2010

    The stadium seats are bluer than the bay beyond. The edginess of the East Village is gone, softened by the earth tones of an artist’s rendering.
    The San Diego Chargers have released the first architectural drawing of the football stadium the team wants to build downtown, and Thursday the team had this admonition for fans: It’s pretty — but it’s also pretty early.
    Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani, who has spearheaded the team’s search since 2002, said several hurdles stand in front of the team and the construction of an $800 million stadium near Petco Park, not the least of which is a public vote being contemplated for 2012.
    The most immediate hurdle is a City Council vote set for June on a consultant’s study.
    “You never want to say never, but that’s pretty much the ballgame for this idea,” Fabiani said in an interview. “If the study is defeated, it will signal a lack, to say the least, of council support.”
    In April, the council put off for two months a vote on whether to spend $500,000 on a study that’s a precursor to pumping public money into a downtown stadium.
    The Chargers say they can spend $200 million on the project, but they’re counting on public dollars — perhaps as much as $600 million — to finance the stadium.
    For now, Fabiani said, the Chargers “have done two big pieces of work”: San Diego-based Turner Construction Co. determined that earthquake fault lines and contamination at a bus yard in the stadium footprint aren’t deal-killers, and Kansas City. Mo.-based Populous, which has designed dozens of stadium projects, figured out how to position the stadium on a relatively small, 10-acre site.
    The council meets June 22 to discuss the $500,000 study on downtown blight and redevelopment.
    Stadium supporters say the best way to build a stadium is to lift a cap on how much public money can be spent downtown, borrowing against the area’s future property tax revenue.
    Critics have said that limited downtown redevelopment dollars are better suited for competing priorities and projects, from parks to police stations.
    To lift the cap and spend larger amounts of redevelopment money, the Centre City Development Corp. needs approval from the City Council, the state Finance Department and the Housing and Community Development Department, and four government entities that have tax-sharing agreements with the CCDC.
    CCDC Chairman Fred Maas said he has met with representatives from each — the county, the San Diego County Office of Education, the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego Community College District — at least once in early efforts to persuade them to accept smaller shares of downtown property tax revenue on the belief that the stadium would lead to a construction boom and generate more property taxes downtown.
    “We’re a long way to the end zone,” Maas said. “But I would say that everybody has been incredibly reasonable and cooperative in attempting to find a solution, if one’s possible.”
    Aware of the stadium talks, the San Diego County grand jury issued a report Wednesday calling Qualcomm Stadium “a losing proposition.” The report, which was partly based on a 2009 city audit, argued anew what has been well-documented: The city loses too much money operating the Chargers’ current venue. A long-term lease for a new facility should make the Chargers pay enough rent to cover any public indebtedness by the city or its redevelopment agency, the grand jury said. The lease should also avoid team rent credits and protect the city from construction cost overruns.
    Forewoman Victoria Stubblefield said the report was “a natural” for the grand jury because of a desire to save the city and county money.
    “The time has come that maybe we need to help the community understand we need to follow our head a bit more than our hearts right now,” Stubblefield said. “We have to look hard and cold at the dollars and getting the best deal for the taxpayers.”
    Juror Robert McNamara said, “Basically, we wanted to emphasize that the city should not be repeating the mistakes of the past.”


    What’s happened:The Chargers and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders support a new football stadium downtown.
    What’s new: An artist’s rendering shows what it might look like, and a grand jury report offers a warning.
    What’s next: The San Diego City Council meets June 22 to discuss a study that could pave the way to pump hundreds of millions of public dollars into the stadium.

    Online: To read the grand jury’s report, go to uniontrib.com/documents

    Online: To read a 2009 city of San Diego audit on the stadium, go to uniontrib.com/qualcomm-audit

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