SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University officially broke ground Monday on its Mission Valley campus, four days after closing escrow on the 132-acre property which currently houses the San Diego Community Credit Union Stadium.
"Today marks a milestone moment for San Diego State University and the city of San Diego," said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. "With today's groundbreaking we begin the work to expand SDSU's educational, research, and entrepreneurial missions. SDSU Mission Valley also addresses the realities of the past few months and the need for new streams of revenue to support higher education opportunities for all."
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the groundbreaking event was not open to the general public. Instead, in-person speakers and invited guests were limited to maintain compliance with public health guidelines.
The project has been in the works legally since San Diego voters approved Measure G in November 2018, with centerpiece Aztec Stadium scheduled for completion in Fall 2022.
"We are building a stadium for Aztec football, international and professional soccer, concerts and any other event you can think of," said SDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker. "A world-class 35,000-capacity stadium designed to offer the amenities fans expect today. This is the most important sports and entertainment venue in San Diego since Petco Park opened and will be 365 days a year use for campus and our community."
The San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve a sale agreement for the city-owned Mission Valley stadium property to SDSU for $86.2 million in late May, bringing more than a year of negotiations nearly to a close.
Council President Pro Tempore Barbara Bry was an early supporter, and released a statement expressing her feelings about the project.
"I believe that investing in the education of future generations is the most impactful thing we can do. But coming up with plans for an alternative public use for this land in a short period of time seemed like it would take a miracle. Then a miracle actually happened," she wrote.
"Dedicated citizens wrote and qualified an initiative. The university moved at hyper-speed to formalize plans for a great campus and a magnificent river park. San Diegans contributed millions of dollars to support the campaign for Measure G. And after Measure G was approved by voters, supporters kept the pressure on elected officials to do the right thing and consummate the sale," Bry said.
The university's plan for the SDSU Mission Valley campus includes an "innovation district" to support SDSU's education, research, entrepreneurial, technology and athletics programs, as well as 86 acres of parks, recreation and open space, about 4,600 market-rate and affordable residences, 400 hotel rooms, 95,000 square feet of retail space and enhanced use of the MTS Green Line Stadium trolley station and accommodation of the planned Purple Line.
SDSU Mission Valley is set to expand the university's economic impact by an estimated $3 billion per year.
"What happens on the ground right here, beneath our feet will elevate San Diego State and elevate San Diego in ways that we can't possibly imagine," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "San Diegans should take great satisfaction in knowing that the future of this land is finally set as a place where education, athletics, and the community will thrive side by side for generations to come."
The campus is designed to increase SDSU's enrollment by 15,000 students.
"As a student, I am excited that this project will provide more opportunities for students to attend SDSU, achieve their goals of higher education, have access to affordable and convenient housing opportunities, and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable community," said Associated Students President Christian Holt.
Construction will begin with Clark Construction doing grading and infrastructure work, as well as work on the stadium and the river park. Clark Construction is expected to employ an estimated 3,500 to 5,550 workers through both the stadium construction and site development phases.