Two weeks after its members approved a football stadium on an old landfill site off the 405 freeway, Carson officials will consider taking on $50 million in debt to finish cleaning up the site.
Carson's City Council could vote Tuesday on $50.5 million in bonds to pay for final remediation of the old Cal Compact landfill, according to its agenda. The money is part of $120 million promised by the old Carson Redevelopment Agency as part of a deal with a developer who planned to put a shopping mall on the site. Now it's mixed up in the complex plan for a $1.7 billion football stadium there.
For nearly a decade, cleanup of the toxic landfill has been funded by the redevelopment agency and its current owners, an arm of real estate giant Starwood Capital. Now Starwood has a deal, set to close soon, to sell the 168-acre site to the San Diego Chargers. The team will then transfer it to a city-run stadium authority, which will own the stadium and rent it to the Chargers and perhaps the Oakland Raiders as well. The broad outlines of that deal were approved last month by Carson's City Council, though city officials acknowledged many fine details remain to be worked out.
State environment officials have said major cleanup work is basically finished; all that remains is to cap the site, which can't be done until it's known what buildings will go where. A stadium, said Emad Yemut, who's overseeing the project for California's Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, would be much simpler to cap than a shopping plaza.
"When we heard about this proposal, we said, 'Great,' " he said. "It's way, way easier."
Once work begins on capping the site, Yemut said, it will take about a year and a half to complete.
Carson officials note they have agreed to help fund the cleanup no matter what gets built on the site. Now, they'll own the property themselves. And if the stadium falls through, there's another shopping mall developer interested in the site.
"If the stadium doesn't happen, the [authority] can turn around and sell it to them," said City Atty. Sunny Soltani.
The bonds would be paid back with tax revenue generated on the site, be it a stadium, a shopping mall, or something else. A deal still needs to be worked out to pay for long-term operation and maintenance of systems to vent gases from the old landfill, DTSC said.