On October 6, reporter Joe Lewis filed a report on 10News about the Valley View Casino Center. Lewis quoted the mayor of National City, who six years ago said, “The facility is in terrible condition as a modern sports arena.” Mayor Ron Morrison was hoping to attract a bayfront sports/concert arena for his own town.
3500 Sports Arena Boulevard, Midway District
The National City arena never happened. But last week’s 10News story underscores two realities facing the venue that Bowie and Zeppelin played in the 1970s.
Though current stars Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull are set to appear October 15 at the arena, the 46-year-old venue appears to be getting outgunned by SDSU’s similarly sized Viejas Arena, which boasts upcoming shows by Phish, Fleetwood Mac, and the Black Keys.
Insiders say that with Mayor Faulconer looking for ways to finance a new Chargers stadium, the future of the 14,000-capacity Valley View Casino Center is questionable.
With the arena gone, San Diego could sell the 38 acres it owns under and adjacent to it. Gary London, who is frequently quoted by the media for his real-estate expertise, says that land would probably fetch San Diego between $76 and $152 million. London says he suspects it may be up to Ernie Hahn and his father Ron, who have controlled the master lease since the early ’90s, as to whether they would exit the address on Sports Arena Boulevard. Their master lease is reportedly valid through 2017. According to 10News, Faulconer says, “Nothing is off the table” when it comes to financing a new Chargers stadium.
Ten years ago, an ad hoc committee chaired by former councilman Michael Zucchet concluded that the 38 acres would be better utilized if the arena was replaced with residential and commercial development. In 2001, Ernie Hahn had said the plan was to redevelop the parcel.
Hahn did not respond to a request for comment.