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SDSU presents offer to purchase SDCCU Stadium site

Posted at 7:58 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 22:58:21-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University presented an offer of $68.2 million to the San Diego City Council today to purchase the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley, part of SDSU's planned redevelopment of the property.

SDSU and the city's negotiating team, composed of officials in various city departments and the City Attorney's Office, have haggled in recent months over the university's pledge to offer "fair market value'' for the property and what that entails.

An appraisal from the city's Real Estate Assets Department found that the September 2017 value of the site is roughly $68.2 million. An analysis of that appraisal by the city's independent budget analyst found that the value of the site is $72.7 million when taking into account appropriate indexing for 2020, when the property will be sold.

The $68.2 million and $72.7 million appraisals are effectively discounted due to SDSU incurring the cost of demolishing SDCCU Stadium and constructing a river park, as promised. The IBA's office identified a second 2020 appraisal of $91.9 million if the university also paid for the land on which the park will sit in addition to the park's construction.

The two parties intend to exchange a 132-acre parcel of land, which SDSU would redevelop into a 35,000-seat stadium to be primarily used by the university's football team, a satellite campus, a park along the San Diego River and commercial and residential space.

San Diego voters approved the plan, then known as SDSU West and now dubbed SDSU Mission Valley, last November. Since then, the university has selected two firms to oversee the planning and construction of the future stadium and campus while negotiating the sale with the city.

The council met with the city's negotiating team in closed session last week to discuss the appraisal. At the time, San Diego City Council members Barbara Bry and Scott Sherman agreed that the secretive negotiating process was problematic and should be open to the public.

On Monday, both council members agreed that the potential sale is moving in the right direction. "I think we're getting close and we'll eventually get there. ... This is something that needs to be done,'' Sherman said. "I've always been in favor of developing that site one way or another but I need to make sure that the city gets what they were promised and the voters get what they were promised and what they gave their vote for is actually realized.''

University officials argued that their offer is compliant with the text of the SDSU West ballot measure and that an offer in accordance with the September 2017 appraisal is actually worth upward of $150 million due to the economic impact of SDSU's increased footprint.

Construction of the river park is estimated to cost $30 million. As part of its offer, SDSU would cover that cost and maintain the park in perpetuity for roughly $600,000 per year. SDSU would also request the city complete any deferred or outstanding projects on the site.

"It will create a sense of place that is desperately needed in Mission Valley,'' SDSU President Adela De La Torre said of the redevelopment project. "SDSU is a public institution, not a private developer. ... This offer represents not only fair market value, but a fair and equitable price to the taxpaying public (SDSU and the council) both represent and support.''

On the project's timeline, university officials expect the California State University Board of Trustees to consider approving a draft environmental impact report on the plan early next year. The university expects to break ground on the project in 2020 and complete the redevelopment in its entirety by the mid-2030s.