University’s board OK’s stadium design and project cost amid ongoing property negotiations with the city
By JENNIFER VAN GROVE | THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE MARCH 24, 2020
San Diego State University has secured the financing and board approvals needed to build its proposed 35,000-person football stadium in Mission Valley, meaning the school is in position to start construction as soon as it buys the land from the city of San Diego.
Tuesday, the California State University Board of Trustees, which convened virtually, amended its budget to accommodate the project, OK’d the stadium design and agreed to issue $310 million in revenue bonds to fund stadium construction.
“While the negotiations with the city on the purchase and sale agreement are progressing, they are not yet complete. Still, we seek the board’s support for the multi-use stadium to keep the project on schedule for use of the stadium in 2022,” SDSU President Adela de la Torre told the trustees. “It was a tight schedule to begin with, and if we do not make it, it will not be for lack of coordinated CSU efforts.”
The latest approvals supplement the governing body’s January blessing of the university’s development plan for the entire 135 acres it plans to buy from the city. However, at the local level, much still hangs in the balance with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the city’s standard business practices.
The yet-to-be-consummated land deal started with the November 2018 approval of Measure G. The initiative, which is now a part of the city’s municipal code, defined both high-level parameters for the deal and future development of the site.
City leaders and university officials are aligned on major deal points, such as the $87.7 million base purchase price offered by SDSU, and the school’s need to build and pay for a city-owned river park.
Still, some of the finer details require additional negotiations. Earlier this month, City Council members were told that weeks, if not months, of contract-related meetings were needed before the sale documents would be ready. And the district representatives will likely be asked to formally weigh in on outstanding policy matters before the contract can be finalized, although no date has been set.
“Negotiations are ongoing and both sides continue to make progress toward a (sale agreement) that can be presented to the City Council for its consideration,” said Christina Chadwick, a spokeswoman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Meanwhile, San Diego State has pushed forward with the project and planning elements it can control, most notably securing the ability to take on hundreds of millions of dollars in short-, mid- and long-term debt.
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