'Soccer City' could net $2.8 billion annual impact to local economy

Would add more than 25K jobs to region
Posted at 3:00 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 08:06:46-05

SAN DIEGO - As the fight over Qualcomm Stadium's site in Mission Valley continues, a new report Thursday indicated the heavily publicized "Soccer City" plan could have a big impact on the region.

An independent report from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said the plan, which calls for a mixed-use stadium and development of surrounding land, could have an annual economic impact of $2.8 billion.

The plan could also add more than 25,000 jobs to the area, according to the report.

Initial estimates also indicated a $3.7 billion economic impact and the addition of more than 41,000 jobs during the construction phase of the project, the report said.
"Together with our colleagues at AECOM, we conservatively calculated the project’s economic impact," Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC, said. "A project of this size presents strong economic opportunities for our region. Our hope is that the data we have compiled will help better inform our public dialogue in the weeks ahead."
The report cautioned that EDC's statement should not be considered an endorsement of FS Investors' "Soccer City" proposal.
"Soccer City" would include a 30,000-seat stadium to house a potential Major League Soccer team and San Diego State University sports events, about 5,000 public and student residential units, office and retail space, about 18,000 parking spaces, and development of parkland, including the San Diego River Park.
The investment group behind the plan consists of Michael Stone, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman, technology entrepreneurs Massih and Masood Tayebi, Padres owner and investor Peter Seidler, and Univision Sports President Juan Carlos Rodriguez. 
SDSU has long eyed the property as an expansion for its campus, though the school has expressed concerns over the size of the shared stadium and ownership rights.
SDSU issued the following statement last month to the plan:
"We have reviewed the renderings and descriptions presented by FS Investors and we wish to clarify two critical issues: First, given the proposed density of development in the stadium area, there is no prospect for future expansion to 40,000 seats. Second, while the proposed gift of stadium ownership may convey tax advantages to FS Investors, it conveys no revenue or rights of ownership normally associated with a gift," the statement said. "We look forward to working with the mayor, the city council and the San Diego community to construct a mixed-use stadium that will serve the needs of SDSU's top 25 football program."
SDSU has said they are also in talks with multiple parties interested in developing the Mission Valley site, but have not made any commitments to partner with any specific party at this time.
The campus' student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, has called FS Investors' plan a "non-starter" for SDSU and the school community.
Doug Manchester, former owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, was also reportedly interested in redeveloping the deteriorating Qualcomm Stadium.
Manchester reportedly contacted National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell, following the relocation of the now-Los Angeles Chargers, telling him he had formed a group interested in building a new 70,000-seat stadium on the site.
It's unclear whether "Papa Doug" is still pursuing those plans.
Local interest in redeveloping the land was piqued following the Chargers' decision to move the team to Los Angeles, prompted by a battle with the city over a new stadium.
Mark Saunders is a KGTV digital producer. Follow him on Twitter at @10NewsSaunders.