San Diego State University reveals campus expansion on stadium site

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University Wednesday unveiled a $3 billion plan to expand the campus into Mission Valley and redevelop the SDCCU Stadium property over the next 15 years.

The project encompasses:

  • 1.6 million square feet of classroom and research buildings,
  • a river park and open space,
  • 4,500 housing units,
  • retail shops,
  • a pair of hotels and a multi-use, and
  • a 35,000-seat stadium for college football and other sports.

SDSU Interim President Sally Roush and JMI Realty CEO John Kratzer said the project would be mostly funded by public-private partnerships, and wouldn't rely on taxpayer financing. The main exception would be the stadium, which would be funded by bonds that are paid back by future revenues.

Watch the full press conference here:

"When we look to the future needs of SDSU, Mission Valley represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a proximate property where we can grow," Roush said.

The land is three trolley stops from the built-out main campus.

RELATED: Report: San Diego State University has $5.67B impact; SDSU West supporters tout plan

"When SDSU has the opportunity to grow, the region is better served, both in the development of a diverse, highly educated workforce suited to meet San Diego's growing needs, and in the opportunities provided to all San Diegans by way of inclusive economic stimulus," Roush said.

Kratzer said the design will bring a college campus feel to the property.

"It speaks to the scale of the buildings, it speaks to how open spaces are used, it speaks to paseos and how students and pedestrians use the place, it speaks to the fact that automobile traffic is outboarded and out of the way," Kratzer said. "This is not a commercial development plan -- this is a campus plan."

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He promised a transparent development process that would include a full environmental review.

SDSU officials have for years eyed the city-owned Mission Valley site for expansion, and the property became available when the Chargers left for Los Angeles.

A group of influential SDSU alumni and supporters are collecting signatures for an initiative that would grant the school rights to the land.

A statement sent by Friends of SDSU, the group touted the plan over the proposed SoccerCity initiative:

“The release of the University’s proposed site plan marks the first milestone in a public and transparent planning process for the critical Mission Valley stadium site. A site of this importance must be planned with public input and a comprehensive environmental review, a process not included in any other initiative.

The expansion of San Diego State University in Mission Valley, made possible by the SDSU West initiative, would allow the University to significantly exceed its current $5.67 billion impact for the region without using taxpayer dollars.

With more than 80 acres of open space, including a river park and hiking trails to restore this hidden gem and make it accessible to the public, and development plans that offer much lower density and traffic, the SDSU site plan is far superior environmentally to the SoccerCity plan.”

If enough valid signatures are gathered, the initiative would likely go before voters on the November 2018 general election ballot. It would probably complete with the SoccerCity development plan, which has already qualified for the ballot.

SDSU officials said they need to stay out of the political process for legal reasons but have been under pressure to release details of what San Diegans could expect to go onto the site. Roush acknowledged the "very valid observation" that SDSU officials haven't "clearly articulated" their vision and needs until now.

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Gordon Carrier, of the design firm Carrier Johnson + Culture, said the land would be divided into an upper plain for the campus buildings and stadium, and a lower area for the river park. The river flow would be redirected into a more natural flow, and tributaries would be brought within the campus.

He said most of the buildings would be kept within three to six stories in height, and parking would be accommodated by around 5,000 below- grade spaces.

The project also includes a 250-room hotel and conference center, which could also make use of the stadium, and a second 150-room hotel, according to Carrier. He said the housing would be for faculty and staff, and upper division and graduate students, and would include both market-rate and affordable units.

RELATED: San Diego City Council votes to put SoccerCity project on 2018 general election ballot

On Thursday, Aztecs athletics officials are scheduled to unveil more details of the stadium portion of the plan. Roush, athletic director John David Wicker, football coach Rocky Long, and Scott Radecic, the founder and senior principal of the Populous stadium design firm, are scheduled to participate.

According to Kratzer, the stadium would be part of the first development phase and take two years to build.

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