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University Seeks Developers for Affordable Apartments on Former Chargers Stadium Site

San Diego States Looks to Help Alleviate Region's Housing Crunch as Park of $3 Billion Mixed-Use Development

By Lou Hirsh CoStar News January 20, 2022 | 12:54 P.M.

Officials at San Diego State University this week kicked off the developer selection process for the first affordable housing units at its mixed-use SDSU West project, which is slated to include a total of 4,600 rentals as the city looks to relieve a chronic housing shortage.

The university issued a request for information and qualifications, the first step in a process expected to take the rest of the year, for developers able to build the first 300 of a planned 460 housing units deemed affordable to renters making 60% of the region’s median household income.

That unit count represents 10% of total residential units planned for SDSU West, a $3 billion mixed-use project on the 132-acre site of the stadium that housed the NFL’s Chargers for more than 50 years before the team moved to Los Angeles in 2017.

San Diego voters in 2019 approved a plan calling for the city to sell the land in Mission Valley to the university for $86.2 million. The deal, which closed in 2020, is among the biggest by price and acreage in city history. Construction is underway on a new 35,000-seat stadium, scheduled to open in September, and a public river park set for completion next year.

The university plans to develop its western branch campus with classrooms, research facilities and several elements open to the general public over several phases in the next decade. At completion, the project would include 4,600 residential units, 1.6 million square feet of offices, a 400-room hotel and conference center, 95,000 square feet of retail and more than 80 acres of parks and open space.

The university is expected to tap several developers for those projects under ground lease arrangements. Its priorities include providing affordable housing to faculty and staff, though rentals in the development will be made available to all local residents. Housing PrioritiesHousing that is affordable to teachers, nurses and other middle-income workers is a particular priority for San Diego, which like other California cities saw construction lag far behind demand during the past two decades. San Diego needs to add at least 100,000 housing units by 2029 to help the state reach its 1.5 million-unit goal to meet demand, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

“SDSU is requesting information and qualifications from qualified developers (Development Teams) that have demonstrated success in completing affordable multi-family housing projects, employing various public and private funding sources and demonstrating compliance with applicable public jurisdictions,” the university said in a document issued Jan. 18.

The university has designated two parcels totaling approximately 2.6 acres for affordable housing, part of its larger site off Friars Road near Interstate 15.

SDSU, which is part of the public California State University system, set a March 2 deadline for receipt of qualification information from prospective developers. In May, the university expects to issue a shortlist of finalists who will then be asked to submit project proposals for affordable housing.

The university said last month that the new stadium, set to house its Aztecs football team and other local sports and entertainment events starting in early September, would initially be called Snapdragon Stadium after the chip technology of San Diego-based Qualcomm following a naming rights deal reached with the wireless chipmaker.

The university has also lined up several mostly local companies to operate restaurants at the stadium and last month announced the venue would host home games of the San Diego Wave, a new team in the professional National Women’s Soccer League.

The old Chargers stadium, which opened in 1967, was torn down in a gradual, months long process that concluded last year. Some materials from the demolished stadium are being incorporated into the new development, university officials said.

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