Presenters at the NAIOP San Diego breakfast | Image by Carrie Rossenfeld

Event Coverage: The Battle for “The Q” Continues

Carrie Rossenfeld Event Coverage

As Election Day nears, the controversy between Measure E and Measure G in San Diego is heating up. The two measures, both focused on the redevelopment of SDCCU Stadium (on which SoCal Real Estate has previously reported) were presented to attendees of Wednesday’s NAIOP San Diego Educational Forum breakfast, “The Future of The ‘Q’: A Second Renaissance for Mission Valley.”

The speakers included Nick Stone, project manager of SoccerCity, which is promoting Measure E; and Gordon Carrier, design principal of Carrier Johnson + Culture and architect of the Mission Valley Community Plan Update as well as the designer of SDSU West (the Measure G plan). The event was moderated by Scott Lewis, author at Voice of San Diego. Each side presented the history of the plan they represented and why it was superior to the other.

Stone presented first, making the case for SoccerCity, a mixed-use development that would include a joint-use Major League Soccer stadium available to the San Diego State University (SDSU) football team, The Aztecs; a community park; 4,800 transit-oriented housing units; 2.4 million square feet of office space; and 5 free acres (up to 47 total). Stone said the proposal was sent in a binding letter to the mayor of San Diego as a promise for a work/live/play environment that the backers of SoccerCity would maintain for 99 years. He said the project would help the Aztecs and the university in a more expedient way that would keep the cost burden off taxpayers and students.

Stone also said under Measure E, SoccerCity investors would pay fair market value for the site, while under Measure G, the university would have to buy back the land before it could expand on the stadium, putting the burden on students to foot the bill for lawsuits as well. “Students should not be forced to pay fees for developing a stadium,” he said.

In addition, Stone said Measure E would have a $2.8 billion beneficial impact on the city and that the backers would be paying the full property tax on the site vs. Measure G, where the property taxes would fall on the taxpayers. He added that the choice was between two private development entities.

Carrier spoke next, explaining the Mission Valley Community Plan Update, which stemmed from the need to pay attention to good hydrology management surrounding the San Diego River. He said the development of the original stadium had created an environmental issue whereby the river was prevented from flowing properly, and the new plan was meant to amend that in addition to creating more open space. Carrier also explained that Measure E, the SDSU West plan, was “absolutely in compliance with the Mission Valley General Plan” and addressed the hydrology-management issue, creating a high-plain and a low-plain plan on the site.

Carrier also said the SDSU campus itself was also addressed in the Measure G plan. “Campuses are about people, not buildings.” He said the plan included a redevelopment of the SDSU campus to include low-rise buildings with space in between for people to gather, in addition to a 35,000-square-foot expandable stadium for football and soccer (adaptable to an NFL team’s needs if San Diego should need that in the future), 95,000 square feet of retail, a hotel/conference-center component that could be built and run by SDSU’s in-house conference-management program, and campus and rental housing. Also, Carrier said, Measure G would create open space and a four-mile trail hiking/biking trail system that takes advantage of the high- and low-plain plan, and it would create no additional parking structure; rather, the parking would all be contained under the buildings.

Carrier stressed that Measure G was a private/public partnership that married the private sector’s and the university’s expertise and emphasized that the plan “doesn’t require taxpayer funds.” He also spoke of the impact of education on the community as a reason why Measure G would be better for San Diego.

San Diego voters will have a choice of the two measures on November 6.