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.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

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.

    This article relates to: Land Use, Must Reads, Neighborhoods, SoccerCity

    Written by Scott Lewis

    Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently breaks news and goes back and forth with local political figures. Contact Scott at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527, and follow him on Twitter at @vosdscott.

    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    Yesterday on sports radio, the FS Investors spokesman made a big deal about their offer to have SDSU buy up to 30 acres of additional land after its Sucker City initiative passes. What he didn't mention is that FSI wants to sell SDSU that land AFTER the city upzones the whole property, adding about a billion dollars to the market value of those 30 acres.

    Why is the mayor proposing to throw SDSU under the bus, hand control of the property over to FSI, then upzone the property increase its market value by something like $4 billion dollars?  Is the mayor a silent partner in FSI? What else is he going to get,

    besides big political contributions, from FSI for championing the Sucker City initiative in November?


    Matt Ortiz
    Matt Ortiz

    Anyone with understanding can see that SDSU could not do anything publicly while the Chargers toyed with the city on staying or bolting to LA. City leaders still holding out hope that the Chargers would stay and build a stadium in Mission Valley advised SDSU to lay low. But SDSU DID have their plans in case the Chargers left. When they did leave, normal protocol of public land for sale should have happened. But when this FS group swooped in and tried to highjack the land, they had a plan neatly packaged up because they could. The notion that they are giving something to SDSU or taking care of them is completely disengenous. Its not the best deal for the city in the long run–only their pockets. SDSU being a public university and having been a tenant of Qualcomm stadium's public land for over 40 years, has earned their right to be top priority. University expansion is what is truly needed in San Diego not another "Gaslamp" atmosphere full of bars & restaurants as this FS group wants. San Diego is much more than a "soccer city." Do the right thing San Diego.

    Kathleen Van Buren
    Kathleen Van Buren

    Do they have a joint venture partner? What happened to JMI? In any case, I'd be open to this if they truly take over full operating costs of the Q, stadium management, and commit to making some of the backlogged repairs and maintenance that are life safety related. At $12-18 million a year plus an investment in reducing the maintenance backlog, I seriously doubt that's what the university has in mind. 

    Honestly, I'm unimpressed. They've known this was coming for a long time. This wish list is understandable and may be best for the city in the long run, but it doesn't seem to be actionable. Does the valley need much more office space? When my company was located there, the building we were in had plenty of available space. It was simply to expensive for us to stay.

    Sharon Parks
    Sharon Parks

    alot of people think I'm crazy, but I believe we are sinking. If you check into Seal Beach news, there should be something  said by their experts.It's when you get into San Diego, everything becomes hush hush, or the city vultures will come out to destroy your character. I live in a 12 story older condo buildinging Downtown , and I can tell you from the 5th story level. this city is sinking. A few times I completely lost my balance, and I don;t do drugs or drink..........I think this stadium should be renovated and go from there. Too many people too many projects and in the end Mr. Dollar Bill  will win

    David Crossley
    David Crossley subscriber

    If SDSU thinks they can build a stadium for $150 million--well, I wish them good luck.  Especially considering they will need parking for that stadium, and more than likely they will have to build parking structures, since the remainder of that property will be developed at some point.