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We finally got the clearest view yet of what San Diego State University leaders really want out of the Qualcomm Stadium site.
They don’t need the land for academics any time soon.
But university leaders want to buy a big part of it for use in 30 to 50 years.
That was the biggest revelation from Bob Schulz, SDSU’s lead architect and associate vice president of real estate, planning and development. He spoke on a panel I moderated for Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 on Thursday.
Schulz said to the crowd of land-use experts that the university is ready to build a $150 million stadium. And, ideally, the university would get 35 acres of the city’s Mission Valley land now, but not for educational uses.
“Initially, we would develop that with a joint venture partner. It would probably be office-type space that would go on the tax rolls and support revenue for the city of San Diego, and we would actually grow into it over the next 30 to 50 years after it’s been capitalized,” Schulz said.
Schulz also sought to diffuse one of the major arguments FS Investors has made for its SoccerCity plan. FS representatives have made the case that SDSU will have no place to play football in just three years. The city will want to close Qualcomm Stadium completely because of how much taxpayers lose every year on its upkeep and debt.
Petco Park, which could host the football team, is only available as an emergency option until 2019.
Schulz said SDSU is studying many options for its football needs. But one of the best is to simply keep playing football in Qualcomm Stadium until university leaders are able to build a new stadium.
And he made some news. SDSU could pay more to play there to keep the city from losing more money on the stadium.
“We have expressed our willingness to take over the operational cost of Qualcomm Stadium,” Schulz said.
I wanted to clarify whether he meant SDSU would carry the city’s full cost on it.
“We haven’t ruled anything out. And under the right terms, of course we would be willing to take on those costs,” he said.
Schulz also said the university was considering options on its own campus and even Balboa Stadium, which is adjacent to San Diego High School.
“We are confident we have the means to proceed with a 30-35,000-seat collegiate football stadium. Our best guess is that is $150 million, and yes, we have the resources and debt capacity to build that stadium,” Shulz said.