SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - While current leadership at San Diego State University has made their position on a potential SoccerCity clear, past leadership is now joining the school's position.
The Past Presidents Council of SDSU Alumni, an independent council of all living past presidents of the SDSU Alumni Board, announced Tuesday they too oppose the Mission Valley development plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site.
"On behalf the Past President Council who represent more than 300,000 SDSU alumni, we are formally announcing our opposition to the FS Investors plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site," Frederick W. Pierce, spokesperson for the Past Presidents, said. "The University made clear last week that the current terms and conditions of the FS Investors’ initiative do not and cannot meet SDSU’s needs."
The group cited the site's importance to SDSU's growth, both academically and athletically, as reasoning for their stance.
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"Given its size, proximity and light rail connection to SDSU, utilizing a portion of the Qualcomm Stadium Site to accommodate the future growth of the university and its football program is of critical importance to SDSU and the San Diego Region," a group statement read. "This is a once in a century opportunity to secure the future growth of SDSU."
More than 97 percent of the group voted to support the opposition statement, and the group has launched a website (www.ProtectSDSU.com) for their cause.
The group also asked those that those who oppose the plan contact Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the San Diego City Council, urge city leaders to pursue a request for proposals process on the site, and vote no on any initiatives that don't incorporate SDSU's "articulated needs."
"For us, the bottom line is that SDSU plays the most important role in the San Diego region in producing an educated workforce to support the local economy with nearly 10,000 graduates each year," Pierce said. "SDSU’s landlocked main campus of 238 acres alone cannot adequately accommodate the future physical growth of the university ... We need the ability to expand, and that opportunity will be lost forever with the FS initiative."
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Mayor Faulconer Friday announced his support for the development of the Mission Valley location.
In a news conference alongside Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents Mission Valley and also endorsed SoccerCity, and investor from FS Investors, Faulconer said if the location isn't developed now, it will sit dormant for years.
"I support this plan so we can leave something better for our kids. I support this plan as an Aztec alum, who can't wait for SDSU football to finally have the world-class home that it deserves," Faulconer said. "I think, most importantly, I support this plan as a San Diegan, who sees this rare opportunity for our city and wants to seize it."
Faulconer said he believes the plan would transform Mission Valley the same way Petco Park did downtown's East Village.
SDSU released a statement following the Mayor's announcement:
"We are disappointed in the Mayor's actions today. SDSU shares the excitement of a joint use stadium, affordable housing, and a River Park, as well as the prospect of an MLS team here in San Diego. The FS Investors' initiative, however, is not in the best interests of the City of San Diego or of San Diego State University.
Good public policy for the redevelopment of this site demands the intelligent interest of all willing stakeholders, including the Mission Valley Planning Group, higher education, the environmental community, willing developers and the City of San Diego—not a chosen few."
Last week, SDSU announced the campus had ended negotiations with the investment group behind the development, citing the inability to reach an agreement. SoccerCity criticized the statement as "another sad chapter" in the university's departing leadership.
SoccerCity's plan calls for a 30,000-seat stadium to house a potential Major League Soccer expansion team and SDSU athletics, about 5,000 public and student residential units, office and retail space, an entertainment district, and development of surrounding parkland.