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Mayor Kevin Faulconer told the Chargers Friday he needs a lot more detail on the team’s convadium plan before he can decide if it’s a good deal.

He’s especially interested in seeing what the $1.8 billion building is supposed to look like.

In a letter to the team, Faulconer said he needed to see the design of the proposed stadium-convention center the Chargers want to build downtown. Without seeing the facility’s design, he wrote, it’s impossible to know how much the city will spend running and taking care of it and how useful it will be as expanded convention center space.

“Absent additional information about the design it is not possible to reasonably project the nature and magnitude of operation and maintenance costs, validate construction cost estimates, determine the public share of overall costs, and authenticate projections of revenue from potential events,” he wrote.

His letter was accompanied by 15 pages of questions for other details of the Chargers’ plan.

The Chargers two weeks ago released a plan to build a convadium next door to Petco Park by raising the city’s hotel tax from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent. The team is now collecting signatures to put the plan on November’s ballot.

The plan didn’t include design specifications for the project. Faulconer is now saying that’s crucial to get any sense of the value of the convadium to the city, which would cover over $1 billion of the convadium’s total $1.8 billion cost.

Faulconer, meanwhile, planned as recently as January to ask voters in June to increase hotel taxes for a convention center expansion at its current location. That opportunity came and went, and now he’s asking the Chargers for more details on their idea.

In his dispatch to Chargers owner Dean Spanos, Faulconer tried to figure out under which circumstances the city’s general fund would be on the hook for unforeseen costs.

He also asked eight questions about design schematics for the facility after the plan mentioned only stadium seating capacity, square footage of convention space and compliance with the city’s municipal code.

Some of those questions hit at a central dilemma facing any joint stadium-convention center facility: Where does the stadium end and the convention center begin?

For instance, Fauloner asked how much of the 385,000 square feet of convention space includes club areas, suites, lounges and meeting spaces that are typically included in stadiums. He also asked whether the facility would include a roof, and if so, how much of the playing surface itself would count as convention space.

The exhaustive list of questions also asks for details on lease terms, additional public expenditures as the facility ages, specific cost estimates, anticipated events at the facility, parking and transit, relocation of the Metropolitan Transit System’s bus yard and what would happen in the event of cost overruns or construction delays.

Neither Faulconer’s office nor the Chargers immediately responded to requests for comment.

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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