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Architect Rob Quigley successfully reframed the endless debate over whether San Diego should build the Chargers a new home. Instead of asking San Diego whether it wanted a new stadium, or where, he posed a new question: What type of downtown do you want for your city?
The Chargers wanted their bid to build a new stadium to be about keeping the team in San Diego. The big bonus, the team’s leaders argued, was the economic boost the convadium would bring to downtown and the East Village.
The loudest argument against the Chargers’ pitch railed against the use of public tax dollars to fund a highly profitable private business, regardless of whether the money came from the pockets of tourists staying in San Diego hotels.
Another case against the downtown stadium emerged, though, when Rob Quigley started speaking out about the crushing footprint the Chargers’ stadium would have on the East Village.
The architect laid out a clear argument, calling the downtown stadium and convention center annex an “irreversible and unprecedented planning disaster,” and restating that sentiment at community meetings and in interviews.
Quigley talked about things like the stadium’s huge shadow, its loud noises, lack of parking and blocked views and said that an NFL team makes for an awful urban planner. He advocated instead for a plan for the East Village that is already in place, and more in tune with the neighborhood’s urban vibe.
Not only did Quigley’s vocal opposition upset the Chargers, we think it played a role in San Diegans ultimately voting against the downtown stadium.