There is nothing good about SoccerCity for San Diego State University (SDSU). Despite more than a year of negotiations, FS Investors never acted in good faith. Over the course of the tumultuous back and forth, FS created challenge after challenge for SDSU – even stopping negotiations at one point and developing its own site plan without their input. When the dust settled, FS Investors refused to give SDSU what it needs to support its athletic, academic, research and enrollment goals.
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Let’s start with the most obvious – the stadium. SoccerCity says it will construct a joint use stadium, but the concept is fundamentally flawed and does not work for SDSU. The largest stadium FS has proposed is 32,000 seats, and SDSU has repeatedly said they need more than that for college football. FS Investors told SDSU they could look at expanding the stadium later on, but the university would be responsible for all related costs and have to undergo a full environmental review and entitlement process (the same process that this initiative is bypassing). In addition, FS Investors offered to “gift” the stadium to SDSU, but that is expressly prohibited by the SoccerCity initiative, which states that the stadium must be privately owned.
Then, the academics, research, and enrollment. SDSU’s location on Montezuma Mesa has left it landlocked and bereft of any opportunities for expansion. The university is starving for more space for offices, academic buildings and research labs, as well as student housing, but the simple fact is that no more space exists adjacent to its current facilities.
Just two trolley stops away, the Mission Valley stadium site is a logical location for university expansion, not to mention it’s perhaps the last large parcel of developable land in the City of San Diego. And SDSU conveyed as much to FS Investors over the course of their year-long negotiations, asking for the ability to purchase a portion of the site as part of the SoccerCity plan. In response to this request, FS Investors offered SDSU a small parcel of the land for $13 million an acre. As part of the negotiations, FS Investors shared their term sheet, showing how they calculated the $13 million figure – based on the subsidization of their MLS franchise fee and team losses. As a public agency, SDSU cannot subsidize private development, rendering the deal untenable. Adding insult to injury, it would be impossible to actually develop anything on the parcel that FS offered SDSU because of steep slope, habitat and traffic constraints.