A rendering of the SDSU Mission Valley official site plan.
A rendering of the SDSU Mission Valley official site plan showing new classroom buildings and the stadium in the distance.

Friends of SDSU called on the City Council Monday to accept an independent auditor’s valuation of the former Qualcomm Stadium property so that the university can proceed with a new stadium and campus expansion.

In a letter to Council President Georgette Gómez, the group urged the council “to make sure this once-in-a-lifetime project becomes a reality. It’s time, under the same uniting spirit of Measure G, to get this deal done!”

The group warned the council against “extraneous considerations that are inconsistent with the provisions of voter-approved Measure G.”

“We urge you to expeditiously accept the appraisal and move forward with the purchase and sales agreement for the site,” Friends of SDSU wrote.

The letter was signed by two former presidents of San Diego State University, as well as numerous civic leaders.

Supporters of Soccer City, whose competing ballot measure lost last November, had agreed to pay $83 million for the 132-acre site plus the former Chargers training facility in Murphy Canyon. A 2015 report prepared in connection with a plan to renovate the stadium to keep the Chargers in San Diego valued the land at over twice that much.

San Diego State officials plan a new 35,000-seat stadium to be primarily used by the university’s football team, a satellite campus, a river park and commercial and residential space. The university has already awarded a contract for construction of the stadium.

Meanwhile, the San Diego City Council declined to report details of its closed-door discussion Tuesday on the draft appraisal of price and payment terms for the city’s potential sale of the SDCCU Stadium site to San Diego State University.

The council met in closed session to discuss the undisclosed terms of the appraisal with its negotiating team, composed of officials in various city departments and the city attorney’s office. Both the city and SDSU have expressed an intent to exchange the property for “fair market value,” but what that entails remains opaque.

The city is currently in the process of selling a 132-acre parcel of land to SDSU as the university intends to redevelop the parcel, which includes SDCCU Stadium, into a 35,000-seat stadium to be primarily used by the university’s football team, a satellite campus, a park along the San Diego River and commercial and residential space.

After the closed session, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry called for the draft appraisal to be released to the public and for all future discussions of the sale to take place in an open session.

“It is now time for SDSU to make an offer which honors the terms of Measure G and the promises that were made during the campaign,” Bry said in a statement. “This offer should include a commitment to building the river park and designing a transit-dependent development.”

City officials have also noted their concern over certain elements of the project’s draft environmental impact report, such as the university’s analysis of how the project will affect traffic patterns in Mission Valley. The council must approve a final version of the report prior to completing the sale.

San Diego voters approved the plan, then known as SDSU West and now dubbed SDSU Mission Valley, last November. Since then, the university has selected two firms to oversee the planning and construction of the future stadium and campus while negotiating the sale with the city.

On the project’s current timeline, university officials expect the California State University Board of Trustees to consider approving a draft environmental impact report on the SDSU West plan early next year. The university expects to break ground on the project in early 2020 and complete the redevelopment in its entirety by the mid-2030s.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8, 2019

— City News Service contributed to this report.

Chris Jennewein

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