SAN DIEGO (AP) - The San Diego Chargers on Thursday rejected a developer's proposal to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a redevelopment of the land surrounding Qualcomm Stadium, saying the project would be too enormous for the Mission Valley site.
Hours before Perry Dealy publicly unveiled the project, attorney
Mark Fabiani sent the developer a letter saying the team doesn't
think it has a realistic chance and asking him to stop referring to
the Chargers in promoting the project.
"We did it reluctantly," Fabiani told The Associated Press.
Southern California's only NFL team has said since 2002 that it
needs a new stadium to remain financially competitive with other franchises. Three years ago the Chargers gave up on their own plans for a stadium at the Qualcomm site, but Dealy crafted a new proposal anyway, despite Fabiani's warning to him in January that the team spent several years and millions of dollars trying to make a project there work, said Fabiani, the team's lead negotiator on the stadium issue.
Dealy's proposal, called The River Park at Mission Valley, would
include a 70,000-seat stadium, 3.76 million square feet of office
space in 11 buildings, a 16-story hotel, nearly 6,000 residential
units, 500,000 square feet of retail space and 14,000 parking
Fabiani called Dealy's project "fantastical," with "mythical
skyscrapers, mythical prices and a mythical stadium."
Fabiani said he was surprised Dealy went ahead with the was conference.
"It was not, in our view, a productive situation, for the simple reason that the project is as predicted, so dense that it's never going to be built," Fabiani said. "We're a lot closer to the end of the process than we are the beginning, and for those people who care about finding a solution, we shouldn't be spending time on stuff that has zero chance of actually happening."
The Chargers still hope to use a similar but smaller
development, plus public land, as a way to build a stadium. Fabiani said the team believes such a project would require two parcels of land, one for the stadium and another for the commercial development to help pay for it.
The Chargers would like to build a stadium on San Diego Bay in
suburban Chula Vista, but the project is stalled due to uncertainty over the shutdown date for a power plant on the site.
Fabiani said other sites around San Diego County have emerged as possibilities, including east of Petco Park, the downtown home of baseball's Padres.
Dealy said he and his group are looking for a better use for the
166-acre Qualcomm site, where the stadium sits in the middle of a vast parking lot.
He said he was disappointed with the Chargers' response, and
acknowledged that the project has many issues that need to be
"But I would hope that if the Chargers don't have any other
options, and this gets some traction, that the Chargers would
embrace this as a viable alternative," he said. "We certainly
don't want them to leave the region. The worst thing that could
happen is if the Chargers say, 'I've got no options in San Diego
County, and we're out of here.' And that could happen. That was
part of our motivation to be aggressive now."
Under Dealy's plan, the Chargers and the NFL would each
contribute $200 million to the stadium, while San Diego State would contribute $100 million. The rest would be paid for by land sales and taxes on the surrounding development.
Fabiani said the announcement of Dealy's project put the
Chargers in the awkward situation of explaining how they could turn it down when few other options have surfaced.
"That's part of why this effort by Mr. Dealy is so damaging to
us," Fabiani said. "It causes people to ask that question. We
don't deserve that after spending seven years and $10 million in
this process. We've done everything we can to stay here. If someone with their own ulterior motives comes up with a half-baked plan, you can't blame us for that."
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