Nick Stone speaks to reporters outside Qualcomm Stadium. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The developer of SoccerCity said Tuesday voters will be presented with a “dead initiative” if it’s moved to the 2018 general election.

Nick Stone, project manager for La Jolla-based FS Investors, said major league soccer franchises are set to be awarded in December, and having a stadium identified will be a key consideration in whether San Diego gets a team.

“Effectively, you’re giving people a choice on a dead initiative,” said Stone at a press conference outside Qualcomm Stadium.

If the vote is postponed, “we’ll sit looking at this for eight years plus,” he added, pointing to the vacant stadium.

The City Council on Monday rejected holding a special election in November, citing the cost and concerns about another proposed ballot measure covering expansion of the downtown convention center.

Next Monday, the council will take up the SoccerCity proposal, either approving it outright or putting it on a future ballot.

“This project is overwhelmingly popular,” Stone said. “There’re 110,000 people who signed the petition in two weeks.”

He wouldn’t say whether FS Investors would drop the project if the vote is pushed to 2018. He said if it is approved outright, rather than in an election, opponents would likely mount a petition drive to overturn the council’s action.

Opponents of the project include San Diego State University, which wants a bigger stadium and more control over the property, organized labor and developers of neighboring parcels.

The SoccerCity plan calls for building a new stadium for a major-league soccer team and SDSU football, along with 4,000 housing units, 800 student apartments, 60 acres of parkland, office and retail space, and two hotels.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.