Rip down Qualcomm and build new stadium?

Stupidity squared

SDSU wants to develop the site on its own.
  • SDSU wants to develop the site on its own.
  • Photograph by Chris Woo

San Diegans vote next year on the plans of FS Investors to tear down Qualcomm Stadium, erect a soccer stadium, and build residential and commercial structures on the site. Before the vote, propaganda will fill the air. The investment group will claim that the program will do wonders for the San Diego economy. Balderdash.

San Diego Stadium with the C shape

San Diego Stadium with the C shape

There is only one rational use for the more than 200 acres of stadium site and adjoining wetlands. That is San Diego State University. It had earlier attempted to have a joint venture with FS but in May pulled out of the talks.

Colorado State plays in a stadium that is new this year.

Colorado State plays in a stadium that is new this year.

Now the university wants to develop the site on its own. The city says the site is worth $82.8 million. “We would be willing to pay a negotiated purchase price” around that $82.8 million figure, says Gina Jacobs, the university’s chief of staff.

Mississippi State stadium more than 100 years old

Mississippi State stadium more than 100 years old

There should be no argument whether the FS plan or the San Diego State project would be better for the local economy. Higher education wins. Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz of Liberty Street Economics, a blog of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, say that in addition to direct economic impacts (such as university employees), colleges and universities “help to raise the skills of an area’s workforce — its local human capital.”

University of Wisconsin stadium — also more than 100 years old

University of Wisconsin stadium — also more than 100 years old

By educating potential workers, these institutions increase both the supply and demand for human capital. A skilled workforce will attract companies to the area. Regions with a higher percentage of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree “tend to be more innovative, have greater amounts of economic activity, and enjoy faster economic growth,” say the researchers, noting that workers in such regions are more productive and have higher wages.

Of course, universities, like pro teams, inflate claims of how they contribute to local economies. In 1994, Loyola University Chicago claimed it boosted the Chicago economy by $1.04 billion. A dozen years later, Northwestern, about the same size and located fairly close to Loyola, said it boosted the Chicago economy by only $145 million. The “multiplier” is supposedly a measure of how many new jobs can be created for every one existing job. Among 98 schools, the multiplier varied from 1.03 to 8.44. Hmm...

According to the SDSU Alumni Past Presidents Council, only 8000 of 80,000 applicants were enrolled last year. The student body could be expanded and the faculty could attract more talent if the university gets additional land, particularly since the Mission Valley site is easily reachable by light rail.

San Diego State’s plans for stadium land are: (1) A river park. (2) Affordable and market-rate housing for upper-division and graduate students, faculty and staff, and the general public. (3) Commercial/office space to be developed through a public-private partnership. Occupying the space would be research facilities, faculty and staff offices, and the like. (4) Complementary retail and restaurants to service student and faculty needs and the public. (5) A hotel to support visitors and serve as a training ground for the university’s hospitality/tourism management school. (6) A 35,000- to 40,000-seat stadium for Aztec football, expandable to accommodate university growth and, possibly, another National Football League team.

San Diego State should be cautious with number five and unceremoniously jettison number six. A hotel should be built only with private capital. The owner should reimburse the university for the land it uses. Such a hotel could still serve as an incubator for tourism students.

There is no reason on earth that San Diego State should tear down Qualcomm and build a new stadium. Qualcomm is an architectural wonder, an icon. It may soon get a “historic” designation. It would take four to five years just to get permits to tear it down, and there would inevitably be lawsuits. The cost of the teardown could be as much as $60 million. A group of architects went through Qualcomm in 2011 and said it should be preserved. Frank Hope Jr., whose company designed Qualcomm, says it is quite serviceable now.

Sportswriters claim it is a “dump.” But dig deep into their psyches and you’ll find that their major complaint is that the press boxes aren’t plush. Not a real problem. Qualcomm doesn’t have enough luxury boxes for super-rich alumni. Can’t they sit in the stands for three hours?

Qualcomm has problems, but they are hardly insuperable. There are cracks to be repaired, stains and blemishes to be removed, concrete flaking to be fixed up, and ladies’ rooms to be added and expanded. No doubt other flaws will surface. A rehab job would probably cost $300 million to $400 million, but that would be half or less than the cost of a new stadium. The savings will leave more money for education — which is the purpose of universities.

The Aztecs averaged 37,000 per game day attendance last year. The fans get lost in a stadium seating more than 70,000. So what? Certain sections could be blocked off. The number of supporters will increase if the team keeps winning and the university grows. Seat capacity could be reduced by use of the wrecking ball — returning, say, to the original horseshoe configuration. Those wonderful mountain views would return. Capacity was around 50,000 when the Chargers opened the stadium in 1967.

Chief of staff Jacobs says the Aztecs will play at Qualcomm for a while, probably until a new stadium is ready. But the most historic university stadiums are far older than Qualcomm. Of 130 Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association stadiums, 38 were built in 1930 or before, making them between 87 and more than 100 years old. Who plays in those old, old stadiums? Some of the best teams in the country: Notre Dame, Michigan, Washington, Texas A&M, Arizona, Florida, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Cal-Berkeley, Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa, Southern California, Tennessee, Ohio State, University of California Los Angeles, Northwestern, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan State, and Louisiana State. Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Mississippi State play in stadiums more than 100 years old.

Fully 25 existing stadiums were built in the 1960s, as Qualcomm was. Only 15 new stadiums have been built since the year 2000. Fans at most of these universities watch games in the rain, snow, and cold. San Diego State has no such problems. It does not need a new stadium.

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Before the Chargers announced their departure, there was a drumbeat by "opinion molders" in the county that regardless of whether they left town or stayed, that stadium had to be replaced. But I don't recall a cogent argument about why that had to be the case. But then, as soon as the words were out of the mouth of Deano, it seemed as if all those same ones were saying and writing that it had to come down as soon as possible. The city says it is losing money on it. Guys, it was losing money on it when the Chargers still played there, 'cause the Chargers paid just about no rent. So, why the rush?

If the stadium is too large now, it could be remodeled to something with fewer seats. Just because it was foolishly expanded to satisfy the NFL, doesn't mean it can't still be used. Some time back there were opinions expressed that all the repair and modification that it really needed could be done for under $150 million, and actually probably less than that. No, that existing facility is like "a perfectly good guitar", and doesn't deserve or need to be smashed and replaced.

Don, I'm not sure I agree with you about turning all that property over to SDSU. In many ways, that school is too large, and if it gets to head down the route to being a "research university", will be of less value as an educational institution for local residents. But regardless of what happens to the site in redevelopment, the stadium should stay, and the Aztecs should play there. It does get frequent use for other kinds of events, and those can now be expanded since the Chargers are gone.

Visduh: Actually, the city was paying the Chargers to play at Qualcomm as a result of rent credits and other arrangements.

I see your point about SDSU. Does it have to be a research university when San Diego already has UC-San Diego? And I do agree with people who who say that we are trying to push too many students to get a college degree. Still, all things considered, I would like to see SDSU get that property.

If that can't happen, then it should be converted into a park, or perhaps a number of athletic locations for baseball or softball, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, badminton, etc. along with a park. Best, Don Bauder

I thought we were going to put thousands of homeless there to make room for thousands more to arrive?

jnojr: Congratulations for a creative, biting response. San Diego has mistreated the homeless, perhaps because down deep the city doesn't want to attract more of them. Best, Don Bauder

"A rehab job would probably cost $300 to $400 million, but that would be half or less the cost of a new stadium."

A new 40k seat stadium (expandable in the future) should end up costing about the same (SDSU had talked of building a stadium that cost around $150 million, but that I don't think is possible). Personally, I would rather build a new facility for the same price (if possible) as your proposed remodel of the current stadium.

And yes, all the schools you mention above have played in their current stadiums for long periods of time. Fortunately for them, none of them play in a stadium that was designed for football AND baseball.

aardvark: I agree $150 million is impossible. But I also don't think a stadium holding 50,000 could be built for less than $600 million, even without the bells, whistles and accoutrement that pro stadiums have. Best, Don Bauder

There will be some of the bells and whistles. There will be suites, but I don't think they will build that many. And SDSU doesn't want a 50,000 seat facility--they would prefer 35k-40k (as you stated in your story above) to start. I think 40k is a better place to start, and build it so it could easily be expanded if needed. I also think there will be a combination of individual and bench seating.

aardvark: If they are getting 37,000 now, and the university will grow, and if the team continues winning, I wouldn't even start at 40,000. I think 50,000 would be about right. SDSU should be smart enough to build for the future to accommodate possible larger crowds.

Don: The actual turnstile counts are at least 10,000 less, which is why I think SDSU would be wiser to start at 40k.

aardvark: I hope SDSU is not using the ruse that professional teams use on attendance. I got that 37,000 figure from a source and checked it with Chief of Staff Jacobs. She affirmed 37,000. If that is a bloated figure, we have a problem here. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Not necessarily bloated, but both announced (37,289) and turnstile (25,617) attendance figures were released by SDSU in an article in the SD U-T on March 20th of this year. Apparently, the turnstile count is the total used to calculate rent payments from SDSU to the city for use of the stadium.

aardvark: If you are right, and you usually are, SDSU sold tickets for 37,289 but only 25,617 showed up. For economic reasons, I would go with the first number. Unless a lot of tickets were given away, that number should represent money in the bank. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Announced tickets include student tickets, which are free (I believe). I don't imagine that many of the paid for tickets go unused.

aardvark: I don't know if the students get their tickets free. Sixty-some years ago when I was in college, we got a package of goodies that included game tickets. But I believe we paid a modest sum for the package. Best, Don Bauder

Don: With a student RED ID, the students get in free, according to the Aztecs website. And not just for football--all sports.

aardvark: Thanks for clearing that up. But is it possible that the students surreptitiously pay for this package in their tuitions.Best, Don Bauder

The word of the day is accoutrement. Thank you Don!

PatrickSD: But do you know how to pronounce it? Best, Don Bauder

JustWondering: I have always thought it was French and have used that pronunciation. But since I don't know French, I'm sure I have been pronouncing it wrong for years. Best, Don Bauder

Matteo Ortiz: I disagree with you on the sight lines. I have watched football and baseball many times at Qualcomm. The only time I couldn't see well was a Chargers game in which I was behind the end zone, under the scoreboard. I could only see half the field and couldn't see the replays. I have attended a lot of Holiday Bowls and many Padres games, and more importantly, people I talk with share my view that for viewing, it is a good stadium.

Besides, is it really worth the hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on a stadium? That money should be spent on academic pursuits.

(Incidentally, the company Qualcomm no longer has naming rights, but I will continue to call it Qualcomm so that people know what I am talking about. The photo with this column shows that the Qualcomm name has been taken off.) Best,Don Bauder

Charles Adair: Some say there is no chance a NFL team will relocate to San Diego -- or be launched in San Diego -- but there are teams such as Jacksonville which are in much smaller metro areas and don't draw the crowds or have the TV reach that the NFL would like to see. San Diego is the nation's 17th largest market and there are 32 teams in the NFL.

SDSU should play in Qualcomm as is for at least five years. After that, it might consider returning Qualcomm to its original C-shaped facility seating 50,000. That will cost some money, but far less than tearing down the current stadium and building another. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Your comments about media market is true regarding J-ville vs SD, but the crowds are almost equal. The last 5 years, Jax has averaged 62252 and the team formerly playing here drew 62679.

And returning the current stadium to it's original shape and capacity does nothing to make the facility a football (and soccer) friendly facility. The seat pitch--especially the lower levels--needs to be steeper and brought closer to the field, such as was done in Miami by the Dolphins. That cost was $350 million and was completed before the start of the 2016 football season.

aardvark: We have to check how much Jacksonville and the Chargers were charging for tickets, beer, etc. Those data are available. I hope I have time to look them up.

But my main point is this: are sight lines at a stadium really that important in the scheme of things, particularly at a university? Can students, alumni and fans strain their eyes for three hours, if necessary, so the money for a new stadium can go into education? I hope so. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Last season, Jax had the lowest average ticket prices in the NFL--$23 cheaper than the team that used to play here. Their beer prices were among the cheapest as well. In 2015, they charged $6 for a 16 oz domestic beer. The team that used to play here charged $9 for a 20 oz.

aardvark: I did some homework, but I could not find the source I usually use, Team Marketing Report. However, an outfit called Vivid Seats says that last year, the median ticket price for the San Diego Chargers was $141 and for the Jacksonville Jaguars $52. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I was using Statista, which has stats on just about everything. However, to see what metrics they used, I have to pay to get that info. Not interested. But Vivid Seats is a resale site (I believe), and I think Statista was using numbers closer to face value of the tickets. But considering the thousands of visiting team fans that went to Charger home games on a regular basis, the Charger season seat holders figured that out long ago and sold their seats to the highest bidder. There appeared to be a better resale market for tickets here than in Jacksonville.

aardvark: I am not surprised that San Diego has a better resale market. San Diego is the nation's 17th largest market with 3.1 million (maybe 3.3 million now) population. Jacksonville is the 40th largest market with 1.4 million.

Some say it's impossible that San Diego will get another NFL team. But it's the 17th largest market and there are 32 teams. It's unlikely but certainly possible. Best, Don Bauder

SDSU might think small is better now, but the City had smaller Stadiums before, and step by step they moved to the larger one. Those who complain that Qualcomm Stadium can also be used for baseball should attend at LA Coliseum or the Rose Bowl, these stadiums were designed for track and field, and are much less comfortable, yet big time college football teams play there. As I've stated here for years, the new Stadium proposals are just cover for the land grab. This is parkland, designated so because it's on a floodplain, the San Diego River can be formidable once it's dams are full, all of the valley bottom was at one time underwater. If we decide to part with our parkland, we should be certain to get a fair price. The land value under the proposed 5000 condos and commercial overdevelopment should be over one billion dollars, if normal San Diego ratios of land value to sale price were applied.

Many stadiums that have been built or remodeled have been getting smaller, as gate receipts aren't really as important as media revenue. A perfect example was where SDSU played this past Saturday night--Sun Devil Stadium. They are spending over $250 million to refurbish their stadium, and REMOVE about 14,000 seats, along with technology and seating upgrades.

Interesting you mention the land value under the 5,000 or so condos and such that FS Investors want to put on the stadium property. FSI wants to buy the property at FMV (before development), but then resell it to SDSU for whatever they decide to build at a price million of dollars higher than what FSI paid for it.

Lastly, while there was a running track at the LA Coliseum (and may be again in 2028), I don't believe there was ever a track at the Rose Bowl.

There was a track at the Rose Bowl, this was obvious before modifications. Compared to San Diego Stadium, sightlines are still a joke.

You're right. There was a track. In 1932. For cycling in the 1932 Olympics.

Psycholizard: Soldier Field in Chicago may have been built in the 1920s for a sport or sports other than football. Chicago has rehabbed that stadium for the football Bears. But there is nothing Chicago can do to keep fans from freezing to death from the winds off Lake Michigan. Best, Don Bauder

Don--Chicago built a new Soldier Field inside the old one about 15 years ago, to the tune of over $630 million.

aardvark: Those numbers sound right. I am sure that if Chicago had built a new stadium, the price would have been far more -- probably over $1 billion, even 15 years ago. Best, Don Bauder

Don: It WAS a new stadium, built within the outer walls of the old one.

aardvark: That's a definitional matter, rather like new houses within an old shell to keep the Prop. 13 tax level. Best, Don Bauder

Don: It was a historical landmark--at least until the rebuild. It was as if they thought if they kept some of the exterior, it would still be considered a landmark. It was delisted almost immediately upon completion. And--it is also one of the smallest NFL stadiums.

aardvark: I didn't know if it is one of the smaller NFL stadiums. That can easily be looked up. Chicago is the nation's third largest metro area. It should have one of the larger stadiums, although the Bears have been lousy in the last several years.

Maybe Chicagoans are getting smart: they don't want to subject themselves to the winds off of Lake Michigan. I was born and reared in a Chicago suburb; I never expected Chicagoans to get smart. Best, Don Bauder

Don: It is currently the third smallest. The only 2 smaller stadiums are, the soccer stadium the Team That Used To Play Here will play in for the next 3 years, and the Oakland Coliseum (which actually seats 63,000+, but the Raiders cover 10,000 seats with a tarp).

aardvark: I'll be darned. The Bears used to be beloved -- Monsters of the Midway, they were called. And now they have the third smallest stadium in the NFL. Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: Incidentally, not long ago my wife and I went to the Oakland stadium to see the baseball A's play. We brought our two sons, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, age 5 and 2.5. I think that stadium is still good. We had a ball. Our oldest son still sees A's baseball there on a regular basis. Best, Don Bauder

Don: That stadium will be gone in probably 5-6 years. The Raiders will be in Las Vegas, and the A's will be playing in a new stadium somewhere in Oakland, or elsewhere.

aardvark: Yes. That is why I told the story of our family attending. I can't see anything wrong with it. Attendance is down but the team is not as good as it has been, too. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: I remember a donnybrook I got into on these pages years ago. I have only been to one Rose Bowl. I thought the sight lines were lousy, especially when people stood up. A commenter who is very knowledgeable said I was crazy as a loon and the Rose Bowl is a beautiful place to watch football.

I countered that those wee entrances/exits scare me. What happens if there is an earthquake rumble? Would thousands be trampled? In any case, the debate about sight lines is still on the table after all these years. Best, Don Bauder

Earthquake at the Rose Bowl? I'd head for the field, not the exits.

JustWondering: Yes, but you are very intelligent. What would most fans do? Head for the exits in a panic. Or consider this: what if the land started collapsing right in the middle of the field where you headed to be safe? Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: Oh yes. The media revenue is the key now, particularly TV. In the NFL, it is split equally among all the teams. I don't know how that is worked out in college games. Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: I suspect it would be relatively easy to find if there has been a running track at the Rose Bowl. On the other hand, maybe not. Is it worth the effort? Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: You are absolutely right. in the cases of professional teams, new stadium proposals are just covers for land grabs. I certainly hope that is not true in the case of SDSU. Best, Don Bauder

Mark Champagne: I don't feel that housing for grad students, faculty, and staff, along with research facilities, are a ruse: these are truly educational initiatives. Best, Don Bauder

Mark Champagne2: I agree that stadiums are lousy investments for universities.That's why I strongly oppose the tearing down of Qualcomm and the building of a new stadium. SDSU has many better places to put that money. Why not spend it on education? I know a number of SDSU faculty members who have been irate for some time about the money spent on athletics. Best, Don Bauder

Why does SDSU need a prime ( real estate ) location to educate ?

Murphyjunk: I think there is general agreement that SDSU is squeezed for space now. For some time it has been eliminating critical classes from the curriculum. Best, Don

Mike Murphy: In pro sports, use of naming rights is another method to make the billionaire owner even richer. For the most part, colleges haven't used naming rights of the stadium to squeeze out extra bucks.

When the federal government starts naming its national parks -- think Coca-Cola National Park instead of the Grand Canyon -- we'll know society has sunk to a new low. Best, Don Bauder

Do reporters actually do research anymore? Why haven't you or any other reporter inquired why SDSU has said nothing about their undeveloped 32 acres on the north side of I-8 immediately across from the campus? As far as trusting SDSU to develop the Qualcomm property responsibly, it only took me about 3 minutes of online research to find these comments about a 2005 SDSU plan to build faculty and student housing on the Adobe Falls site they own, " The city's biggest concern, Madaffer and city redevelopment agency officials say, is that the university plans to build its projects without paying for the public infrastructure to support it. University officials argue that the law restricts what educational institutions can spend their money on. "The state of California entrusts the university with a budget to build universities. We are specifically enjoined from building infrastructure or anything else not involved in an educational purpose," Weber said." I would approach SDSU's claims with the same skepticism that I consider FS Investor's plan. At least FS Investors are professional developers who are honest about their intent to make a profit. SDSU wants to do its own land grab and have a bunch of academics run a development plan, and we all know how well academics usually do in those situations.

beernsports: You make cogent points but I can't see SDSU's proposed project as a land grab, while I consider FS's "plans" to build a soccer stadium (there are no guarantees of that) a definite attempt at a land grab.

As to the non-development of the 32 acres near the university, I think that the city and other government bodies should be committed to providing infrastructure. In stadiums built with private capital, such as that by the San Francisco Giants, I don't object to governments paying for infrastructure. Best, Don Bauder

The Chargers will be back in San Diego in ten years. With a new owner. Raiders were only drawing 55,000 the last few years in Los Angeles. An educated guess would have the Chargers averaging 40-45,000 a game in the new Rams stadium. Now that the team is valued at 2 billion. Spanos will sell when they keep losing and poor attendance.

But you don't say where the Chargers would play IF they came back to SD. The Raiders were actually averaging less than that, at about 50k per game. And--the Chargers were already valued at over $2 billion before the move north (as just about all franchise values rose, thanks to the Rams doubling in value to $2.9 billion after their move back to LA). As far as $panos selling the club--he can't for 10 years, without incurring a financial penalty from the NFL. Unless, of course, the NFL changes their rules again.

aardvark: You know full well that when the NFL has a rule that a majority of the owners don't like, the rule gets changed. Best, Don Bauder

worm: It's too early to tell about this season. Maybe the three consecutive home games will excite potential fans, if the Chargers win at least two of them.

For the long term (say, the ten years you cite),I think it is far too soon to declare that the Chargers will fail in LA. But, all along, like you I have warned that the Raiders and Rams departed LA in the mid-1990s for lack of fan support, and in the case of the Rams, governments' refusal to pay for a new stadium for them. Best, Don Bauder

The Stadium site seems too disconnected from the rest of the campus to work well. Allowing students to park at the Stadium might provide a useful survey of whether students would use the trolley. If students used their automobiles between classes it might be a complete traffic disaster.

They might be parking there already. You know you could find a parking spot with no hassle, and then it's a 6 minute ride to campus. No way could the students get back and forth from the current campus to the stadium site in 6 minutes.

aardvark: Six minutes sounds like too few. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I've taken that trip myself. 6 minutes is accurate. SDSU is only 3 stops away from the stadium site.

aardvark: Everybody: get your watches out and time those trips. Truth will emerge. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: Parking at SDSU has always been a nightmare. I think the students will willingly take the trolley to the game. And grad students and faculty members who live at the Qualcomm site, if the university gets it, will willingly use the trolley. Best, Don Bauder

New SDSU buildings would be better placed on the site of the many parking lots on Campus. I'm sceptical about SDSU intentions. All the players in the decades long farce have wanted the already graded and centrally placed Stadium property, the empty space seems to drive developers mad like lechers to the ingenue. SDSU might claim the highest intentions now, but I suspect they want to rape the site with condos like the rest. If their intentions are pure, they might ask for free student parking first, and see if the idea of using the Trolley from the Valley to the Campus really works.

Psycholizard: You are almost suggesting that SDSU will become a for-profit university if it goes in the real estate business. Almost all for-profit universities are scams, although Donald Trump doesn't think so.

I can't imagine SDSU erecting buildings at current parking spots. Where in the world would people park? Best, Don Bauder

UCSD is non-profit, but that didn't stop them from selling the land for University City. If the split campus will work, students should be willing to park next to the Stadium and take the Trolley to SDSU. That might free up parking lots for development on campus. Parking structures have already made room for some development on parking lots.

Psycholizard: I was just kidding when I pondered whether SDSU would become a for-profit university. The for-profits market heavily to unfit young people, charge far too much for tuition, graduate few, and have stocks that trade on exchanges. It won't happen with SDSU or UCSD. Best, Don Bauder

In a strictly economic sense, it makes sense. IF you forget that it is not in a "valley," it's in a riverbed. And if you forget that its water is largely impounded by San Vicente Reservoir, a roller-compacted concrete dam.* It used to have a steelhead run.

You'll regret it (that you forgot it). Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but as soon as that big pile of roller-compacted concrete East of Alpine or the earth around it gives way to the vagaries of Nature and the Laws of physics. It may be a long time. So not to worry--after all, the earth sits atop the back of a giant turtle doesn't it? Its plates do not move over its flat surface, do they? Homo sap. may be long extinct before the dam or the earth upon which it sets fails . . .

But the best use of the "property" is river.

  • "From the compilation of reported failures the conclusion was that the current design criteria are adequate. However, the real challenge lies in ensuring that the construction of dams is correctly performed to fulfil the stated criteria." [Italics mine] Are not our expert dam builders fail-safe?

Flapper: Qualcomm Stadium sits on a floodplain. Best, Don Bauder

Not for profit maybe, but for a tax-money conduit into certain pockets and overpaid staff. What did its original charter say about tuition fees?

Flapper: I don't know what SDSI's original charter says about tuition fees, but I do know that tuition is far too high all over the U.S. The bloated bureaucracies are one reason for this. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: Certainly, a state university is supported by state government money. It is money well spent. Education is the key to our survival.

My own university, Wisconsin at Madison, was considered among the top ten when I was there in the 1950s. Now it has sunk into the 30s. Major reason: the stupid state legislature kept cutting its funds. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: We try to follow the money at the Reader, but I admit we sometimes fall short. Generally, the U-T doesn't follow the money because it is in bed with those who have the money. Best, Don Bauder

The field at San Diego Stadium floods by design. This is pitched as a flaw, but the floods are ignored when proposing billion dollar developments on the same site.

The stadium field? No. It has flooded once. The lot around it has flooded a number of times. If the river could be handled as it has been in other areas downstream (how many times has IKEA or Lowes been flooded since they have been there?), development of some sort should be fine on most of the stadium property.

aardvark: We seem to have a difference of opinion between you and Psycholizard. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: I hope those floods are not ignored when those acres are developed. The stadium sits on a floodplain. Best, Don Bauder

The Stadium field flooded multiple times. The flood this year happened with empty reservoirs, basically local runoff.

And that story shows the one time it flooded. Well done. And if they don't do some mitigation efforts, such as what has been done in many locations west of the stadium site, any new development on the stadium site will probably be damaged by flooding.

Psycholizard: Duke it out with aardvark. Best, Don Bauder

The area proposed for development was underwater this year. Our Rainfall this year was not exceptional. Yes, development can be protected by flood control engineering, this is what the giant Stadium Parking Lot does for the Stadium. I fight for our parkland wherever it is, but we should remember Mission Valley was developed last not because the town didn't start there, at San Diego Mission, but because wiser heads had respect for the River, which erased the earlier mistakes.

What's the reason that IKEA and Lowe's doesn't flood? They are right next to the stadium. They do not flood. That same mitigation could--and should--be done on the stadium site before any new development commences.

aardvark: Does the explanation lie in superior construction? Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: When I came to San Diego in 1973, there was discussion even among business people that the development of Mission Valley had been botched. Best, Don Bauder

IKEA and Lowe's haven't flooded YET, because we have been in a drought. And that's not the Stadium. The Stadium is built on a flood control berm, doubling as a parking lot. Yes, a billion dollar flood control channel can be built to protect unwise construction, as was proposed in the 1960's. Should the City do this to help give away parkland? If the Stadium is to be torn down, perhaps the land should be returned to a wetlands park, to help protect foolishness like the River? Run! condos downstream.

The city isn't giving away the land. FMV will be paid for it, but part of the deal should be flood mitigation. And I highly doubt it would cost $1 billion, or anywhere near that much. Even FSI, in their plans, proposed parkland through part of that property, but you can bet that is the area that would flood long before any other parts of their proposed development did.

aardvark: Under the developers' proposal, the city wouldn't give the money away, but the developers would pay too little for it. The devil is in the details. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: Some intelligent people have suggested that the entire site be turned into a park. Best, Don Bauder

FMV is another word for we'll talk price after the sale. Let them put their chips on the table, the price including the flood abatement plan, then we can talk. Since they don't I am certain that it's a scam. Even if the price were reasonable, I oppose selling parkland for condos in the center of the City. As for flooding, it's not an act of God. Whenever you see an urban development underwater, be certain a developer pulled an evil scheme. Anyone who trusts obvious con artists like FSI to protect our safety is a fool or in on the scheme, and therefore qualified to run for City Council.

Without a doubt, that land will get developed. The question is--just how it will be developed.

And they wouldn't be selling parkland, but it is land that could become parkland. Perhaps it should be more parkland than anything else, but the city (and developers) will never go for that, in their never-ending quest of trying to obtain more revenue from developments for necessities such as infrastructure, but then not spending enough (or any) money on it.

Psycholizard: Developers have to be watched very, very carefully. But time after time, they are not watched. Do you suppose something is slipped under the table? Best, Don Bauder

The Stadium Land is developed now, as a Stadium and parking lot. The public likes this, so much so that the latest scheme pretends to be for the purpose of building a new stadium on the site, hence the name Soccer City. This may surprise many, but developers aren't officially part of the City Government and sometimes don't get their way automatically. Nearly twenty years of hard sell didn't sell the Chargers' scheme to bulldoze the Stadium and build condos. I suspect Sucker City will fail also.

Psycholizard: Sucker City is a good name. The mayor has been seduced but he is an easy catch. Hopefully, some on the council and in the development bureaucracy will see what is wrong with that proposal. Best, Don Bauder

The key to the suckering is the demolition of the Stadium, which is said to be too expensive to use. This claim is likely aided by accounting tricks, there is a six million dollar charge called "contracts" on the books. I can't easily find any explanation. If our Stadium is destroyed, and the Aztecs try to play in the absurd Petco Park, like a kid with a wrecked car, the City will be ripe for a swindle.

Psycholizard: If FS gets the land, the city will be ripe for a swindle. If SDSU will rip down Qualcomm and build a stadium, the city and state will be ripe for a swindle. Best, Don Bauder

The SDCCU naming is interesting, perhaps the building has found a champion. It's reported that they intend to sponsor events at the Stadium. They might be positioning themselves for some lending on the property. There might be a way to refinance the absurd bonds on the building at a profit. Hmm. Is that an alternative plan I smell cooking?

Psycholizard: A lot depends on how much the credit union paid for naming rights. Do we know? I haven't had time to watch that one yet. Remember that the corporation Qualcomm get a fantastic deal when it came in with a small amount --- less than $20 million, I recall -- to fill a hole in the planned financing. Best, Don Bauder

I'm reading $500,000 for less than 2yrs. It's the sponsorship of the Holiday Bowl and promotion of concerts that makes me think they're interested in the building. I read, at KPBS, that they promote events at their ATMs. If that means they sell tickets there, there is an interesting synergy. Before they turn a shovel, developers usually name the site.

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