Raze the arena?

With a rich rock ’n’ roll history, the arena’s certainly seen better days...
  • With a rich rock ’n’ roll history, the arena’s certainly seen better days...

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.

Pechanga Arena San Diego

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.

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The Who show was announced after this story was filed.

The 'OOOOOOOOO!!! I hope the Sports Arena never gets bulldozed. I've seen some great large concerts here. The Who, Neil Young, Roger Waters...plus what would happen to the swap meet, and Chick-Fil-A, and Chilli's, and the gas station with the awesome beverage selection, and, potentially Phil's? Does Faulconer really wanna have the blood on his hands from a possible relocation of Phil's? The city would be in an uproar! Conclusion, keep the Sports Arena, keep the swap meet, keep the Chick-Fil-A, keep the Chilli's, keep the gas station with the awesome beverage selection, and don't even think about moving Phil's...they have the greatest beef ribs in the United States.

Apparently, at least one option for a Chargers stadium is, in fact, "off the table". That being, HAVE THE CHARGERS PAY FOR IT!

Public funding of sports venues is ALWAYS a loser for the taxpayer. But politicians still clamor for ways to give away our money to wealthy professional sports team owners. They love to tell us about jobs, infrastructure, revenue... but they always conveniently ignore that we never get anything close to our "investment" back in the lifespan of the stadium in question. How long would a new stadium be considered "viable" before the Chargers were crying that it's too old and the NFL is saying it would be unthinkable to have another Superbowl there?

We'd be money ahead if the Chargers left... but, strangely, despite their threatening to do so for years, they aren't going anywhere. So why, exactly, do we need to agree to give them hundreds of millions of dollars to beg them to stay?

If the Chargers proposal to have the city sell off the Sports Arena and Qualcomm properties ever gets approved, this will be the next shoe to drop. Hundreds of millions for a new arena somewhere in the city--to go along with $1 billion for a new stadium, and hundreds of millions more for an unnecessary convention center expansion.

And City leaders still want a new City Hall, even though the SD County Grand Jury reported that it wasn't needed.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know the technical term for the vertical ridges that appear on the exterior of both the Sports Arena and the Civic Theater? Must have been some sort of mid-century Brutalist trend, or am I off-base?

Rather unattractive, to my way of thinking.

Is there a way to improve things such as this with landscaping?

There IS a way to fix that. It's called a wrecking ball! Tear down that piece of old crap; it's an outdated eyesore.

Money is fungible. Proceeds from the sale of the Sports Arena property will not look, smell or feel any different than our tax dollars flowing in. Therefore it should be used for needed infrastructure repairs and/or new projects that benefit taxpayers. Those millions should not flow to the Spanos family. The mayor has obviously not studied history and learned the lessons of the ticket guarantee scandal.

In my opinion it would be short sighted to sell when the lease is up. We should lease for 30 years to the highest bidder willing to develop something compatible with the surrounding area. At the end of that term who knows what the land use needs of the city will be. But we will have that land back and have the option to change its use to conform to the needs at that time.

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