New memos raise questions about stadium plans

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 20:26:31-04

Proponents of the SDSU West and SoccerCity initiatives both say they'll turn the SDCCU Stadium site into something beautiful. But two new memos from the city attorney Mara Elliott's office say those developments, even if approved by voters, aren't guaranteed. 
Those statements appear in the City Attorney's impartial analysis of the two initiatives, released this week. Both are getting to the November ballot through citizen signature drives - and survived legal challenges from the City Attorney to stay on. Now, the attention turns to what would happen if either passes.

“Nothing happens without soccer,” said Nick Stone, SoccerCity’s project manager. “If we win, we will have a Major League Soccer team. If we don't, nothing will happen on the site, so we've made a condition for the lease. 

RELATED: SoccerCity initiatives provides bigger tax benefit to San Diego, taxpayer group says

Stone’s group wants to turn the stadium site into an entertainment district, with housing, offices, a river park and a roughly 23,000 seat Major League Soccer stadium. 
The City Attorney says things are also complicated for the SDSU West initiative. It would authorize the city to sell the stadium site to San Diego State University to be developed into a west campus and riverpark - with a 35,000 seat football stadium. 

“The SDSU West initiative empowers the city and SDSU to come to a table and reach a purchase and sales agreement,” said SDSU west spokeswoman Katy Temple. 

RELATED: City rejects key changes to SDSU West language

The City Attorney memo says there are several unknowns - including who would pay for and maintain the river park. It notes the land could end up owned by a private party, like a university affiliate. 

Plus, the final development plan won't be known until after the vote.

“There are conditions in the initiative that are, through an open and transparent process - which means as much public opinion as possible - will create expansion for SDSU, a stadium and then the river park,” Temple said. 
In a statement, the city attorney's office says it is confident it fulfilled its duty to voters by preparing ballot materials that are true and impartial, and do not advocate for a position for our against the measures.

The memo comes three weeks after SDSU West asked the city council to change the initiative's ballot language

The council denied the request, a decision SDSU West says it won't fight.