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SDSU, Mayor Faulconer meet about "Soccer City"

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 20:27:55-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer met today with representatives of San Diego State University to hear their concerns about the proposed "Soccer City" project that would replace Qualcomm Stadium.

The investor group behind the proposal is circulating petitions in support of its plan, which would create a hybrid soccer-college football stadium along with commercial development, housing and a park by the San Diego River.

While the mayor has been generally supportive of their efforts, he's stopped short of endorsing the project.

"Mayor Faulconer appreciated meeting with San Diego State University to hear their thoughts on Mission Valley," said Jen Lebron, Faulconer's press secretary, of the hour-long get-together. "As a proud Aztec, the mayor plans to keep an open dialogue with SDSU as well as meet with other stakeholders as he continues to review the initiative." 

SDSU officials have long eyed the 166-acre property in Mission Valley for campus expansion, and have an opportunity now that the Chargers have departed for Los Angeles. However, they've expressed concerns about parts of the proposal, including whether the planned stadium could be expanded in the future.

"San Diego State University appreciates Mayor Faulconer's willingness to meet regarding our vision for the Qualcomm site," school spokeswoman Gina Jacobs said.

"We are eager to continue discussions as they relate to stadium size and land lease or purchase for overall university expansion, among other topics," Jacobs said. "We also look forward to seeing how we can best bring our resources to bear as partners in development of the Qualcomm site." 

Faulconer has said it's important to keep the two sides talking so they can work out an agreement, and that it's important to find a permanent home for the Aztecs football program.

If the project backers -- who include investment manager Mike Stone, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman and Peter Seidler, part of the Padres' ownership group -- collect enough valid signatures, the City Council will have to either approve the project or put it before voters in next year's elections.

The group has also applied to Major League Soccer for an expansion franchise.