Bob Schulz, the vice president for real estate assets at San Diego State University, revealed last week the university had no immediate need for the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley. Now he’d like to update that statement.
First, some background. The 230 acres under and around Qualcomm Stadium belongs to the city of San Diego. One proposal seeks to push the city, through a ballot initiative, to sell it for development by FS Investors. FS hopes to build a soccer stadium, thousands of homes, offices and an entertainment district along with a large riverfront park.
SDSU officials negotiated with FS Investors for a year to share the stadium before talks fell apart. Now, the university wants the city to provide enough space for a new collegiate football stadium, a parking lot and 35 acres for development.
What caught my attention at a forum I moderated Thursday for Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, was Schulz’s explanation that, while the university is constrained at its current site on “The Mesa” and is much smaller than many comparable academic institutions, the university does not need those 35 acres apart from the football stadium right now.
“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 then we would actually grow into it over the next 30-50 years after it’s been capitalized and profitized by the developer,” Schulz said.
When I followed up on that, during the forum, I asked, “You’re saying you don’t need the land now. What you would do is get it developed and then push them out eventually as you need it?”
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Anyone considering signing the FS initiative petition or voting in favor of it once on the ballot needs to read this article first. http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/opinion/troubling-issues-hidden-fine-print-soccercity-plan/
Bob Schultz of SDSU is all over the map when it comes to SDSU housing needs. SDSU is currently in the EIR process to develop a massive student housing complex at the west end of campus that will add an additional 2,700 beds next to the 800 bed Chapultepec dorm structure. To pull this off they are planning to build into the canyon, which is deemed sensitive land by the City. Neighbors are vowing to fight this poorly conceived proposal. SDSU needs to come clean with the community with what it really needs and stop acting like a for profit enterprise.
Since several members of the city council were willing to sell the Qualcomm Stadium site to the Chargers for $1, I would recommend that the entire parcel be sold to San Diego State University for $2 (and we double our money) with the proviso that the land be used entirely by the university and not be sublet to any private enterprise except in the normal business of running a university (eg - a pizza company in student housing) and furthermore that the university assume all outstanding current and future liabilities.
@Bob Gardner Scott Sherman had a harebrained idea of LEASING the Qualcomm site to the Chargers for a $1 per year for 99 years. It was little more than a publicity stunt and some of council members who signed the letter didn't even read it.
If SDSU wants the land, the can get in line with the other people who are offering to pay fair market value for it.
I have been utterly confused an exasperated by the leadership at SDSU. FS Investors has been controlling the narrative on this from the beginning and making SDSU look like a rudderless ship, adrift in a sea of half baked competing plans, wishlists and mixed signals. Now perhaps some of this can be attributed to President Hirshman's unexpected departure, but they simply aren't being specific enough about what they want or need.
On the surface, the plan by FS Investors seems like a decent plan that would accommodate SDSU's wishlist. I've not seen anything from their wishlist that couldn't be worked out with FS Investors and I haven't seen anything specific from SDSU about the would use the land beyond a football stadium. "Well, we might do this and we might do that" isn't good enough. Show us your vision and make your case or get out of the way.