SAN DIEGO -- Mayor Jerry Sanders said Monday he opposes U-T San Diego's proposal for a new Chargers stadium and expanded convention center, but the newspaper's CEO said the city's plans are flawed.
In a two-page editorial in Sunday's edition, the newspaper laid out a concept on a far grander scale than what was previously put forth by the city -- to put the stadium on Port of San Diego property near the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal, make the convention center even bigger than what is planned now and add an indoor sports arena.
The $1.5 billion construction cost would be funded by a combination of increased hotel room taxes, selling the Qualcomm Stadium and Valley View Casino Center properties, bond sales, naming rights and advertising, according to the newspaper. The Chargers and NFL are set to chip in around $200 million each in either the current plan or the new proposal.
The new home for the city's NFL franchise and the expanded convention center are currently separate projects, with the stadium set to fit into a lot in the East Village.
Sanders has expressed support for the stadium being part of a wider entertainment district, but not the way it was proposed Sunday.
"The city is ready to move forward now on a realistic plan to create thousands of jobs, protect our convention business and increase revenues for neighborhood services,'' Sanders said in a statement to City News Service. "We have to address these important priorities in a responsible way.'
A financing plan on the stadium is nearly finished, according to the mayor.
He also said that locating the facility on port property would take too long because there would be too many battles to fight.
John Lynch, chief executive officer of U-T San Diego, said the newspaper's proposal was not meant to be "divisive,'' but there are too many concerns with the city's plans. Potential stumbling blocks include questions about whether the California Coastal Commission will approve the design of the Convention Center expansion and the cost of pollution clean-up at the East Village stadium site.
He also said financing that is "compartmentalized'' -- separated between the two major projects -- will never happen, Lynch said. He said newspaper officials have had extensive conversations with city leaders.
"We would love to see something get done,'' Lynch said. "The fact is, the Chargers like our plan better.''
Mark Fabiani, the Chargers special counsel on stadium issues, called U-T San Diego's plan "a bold and serious proposal'' that merited public debate, in comments published by the newspaper.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times