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San Diego State University West Project Takes Key Step Forward

Campus Development in Central San Diego Awaits Sale of City-Owned Land

Photo Via CoStar: California State University system officials approved initial financing plans and environmental impact assessments for a proposed mixed-use, $3 billion western campus of San Diego State University. (SDSU)

By Lou Hirsh CoStar News

January 30, 2020

California State University trustees approved financing plans and final environmental reports for a planned $3 billion mixed-use western campus of San Diego State University in the high-profile Mission Valley neighborhood.

The university must still finalize the purchase of city-owned land for the pivotal project spanning 132 acres in a popular area with little other land remaining to be developed in the geographic center of San Diego. City officials have described the pending land sale — for a proposed $87.7 million — as the largest in recent history for a city-owned property by size and price.

University trustees this week certified final environmental assessments, following more than a year of research and planning for what’s come to be known informally as SDSU West. The 25-member trustee board also unanimously approved financing for the first $350 million phase of the planned multiphase development, including land acquisition, initial site infrastructure work and a new public river park.

Other planned campus elements, to be developed over the next two decades, include a new 35,000-seat college sports stadium to replace the sitting 50-year-old venue that formerly housed the NFL’s Chargers. Plans call for 1.6 million square feet of offices, 95,000 square feet of retail, 400 hotel rooms, 4,600 residential units, 13,000 parking spaces and 80 acres of parks and open spaces.

A section called the Innovation District is planned to include new classrooms and research facilities. The 122-year-old university is looking to expand in the face of rising enrollment at its main campus to the east off Interstate 8, where space is running out.

“This is a significant milestone for our future development of SDSU Mission Valley which represents an unprecedented opportunity to expand and transform San Diego State University,” said university President Adela de la Torre in a statement regarding the trustee approvals.

Trustees also authorized the chancellor of the California State University system, which includes 23 universities, to execute a land deal with the city of San Diego. The university and city are nearing agreement on a plan under which SDSU would pay a proposed $87.7 million for the city-owned land, under a process approved in November 2018 by San Diego voters.

Officials said the land sale approval is still expected to be several weeks away as final details are ironed out. The university is planning to pay for the multiphase campus project through sources including bond debt and related auxiliary sources, with repayment to be funded primarily through ground-lease revenues from the project’s commercial elements.

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