Mission Valley Polling Numbers, SoccerCity's Entertainment District and SDSU West's Plan: San Diego Summarized | 10-15-18
Welcome to San Diego Summarized where each week we examine headlines from around the city:
We kick off this week’s summary with a look at the latest polling report about the likelihood of either Measure E or Measure G passing in the upcoming election.
The headline from the Union-Tribune reads “SDSU West Beats SoccerCity in New Poll” and further reading adds some context to the data.
The top three reasons supporters of Measure E listed for approving SoccerCity are the proposed MLS expansion team, SDSU’s football stadium and increased housing.
The top three reasons supporters of Measure G listed for approving SDSU West are SDSU campus expansion, SDSU’s football stadium and increased housing.
The investors behind SoccerCity spent months building their plan with the former SDSU President. The university has said it needs 35 acres of campus expansion on the Mission Valley site, and the SoccerCity group has pledged to make those 35 acres available to SDSU. Oddly enough, proponents of SDSU West have been unable or unwilling to adequately articulate what about the requested-and-granted 35 acres of SoccerCity land fails to meet their alleged needs.
While there is some dispute as to the definition of campus expansion, stadium capacity is a more empirical discussion to have. The proposed SoccerCity stadium that would be built could accommodate up to 33,500 attendees while the SDSU West initiative plans to build a 35,000 seat stadium.
Those numbers are quite close to each other, and while the quality of the viewing experience is likely to be disputed by American football fans, the SoccerCity stadium would cost the university $100 million as opposed to the anticipated $550 million that it expects to need to raise in order to prepare the land around the existing SDCCU Stadium and build out its own project.
The SoccerCity campaign made some noise with a press event of their own at the renowned Nolita Hall in Little Italy. Project Manager Nick Stone was on hand to explain one of the lesser highlighted elements of the project, which is the entertainment component of the development.
"One of the key features of the SoccerCity plan is the construction of a sports-entertainment district," Stone said. "We think it adds something incredibly vibrant for San Diego.”
“We are huge live music fans. Mike Stone plays in a band. He plays keyboards in a band. We’re actually part-investors in Fender. Steve Altman has hosted Rock the Cure, bringing awesome rock bands to the city for the past 10 years."
This entertainment district aims to provide a new cultural hub for the music community in San Diego to revolve around. Tapping into San Diego’s vibrant and energetic community, this region would be at the core of what makes the game day experience unique in San Diego, be it for Major League Soccer or Aztec Athletics.
“In what's loosely termed San Diego Live, right outside of our stadium, at the end of every soccer game, we will have live music available for the fans. We’ve actually designed it into our stadium so that the main entry of the layout becomes a stage and bands could be positioned on the stage performing for people in the square. Not only will there be live music at the end of every game, we’re also going to put a broadcast studio there and emulate some of the parts of L.A. Live and tailor it specifically to the climate here in San Diego."
In just 22 days, votes will be cast to determine the fate of Mission Valley. Will it be Measure E that is adopted? Or Measure G?
Elsewhere in San Diego, the folks supporting Measure G held a press conference on Monday to extoll the virtues of higher education. The full audio can be found below, with additional comments from District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry who I spoke to after the event.
“SDSU West is a 14 page measure that only provides a framework for negotiation. So the city and city council, and what’s important is that it brings the city council into it, will negotiate an agreement and we can put anything in that agreement that we want,” explained Bry when asked about the legally binding components of the measures.
There has also been an increased demand to expand the university’s enrollment which, despite the existing 11,000 student expansion that was approved for the current campus footprint on Montezuma Mesa, has become a major talking point of late.
While some backers of SDSU West have promised swift and decisive construction and execution of the overall plan, Bry’s estimate was a bit more elongated.
“Any project of this size takes between 5-20 years. No matter who is developing, that’s the nature of it.”
On the topic of student debt and the financing of higher education
“I think it’s really sad,” said Bry. “Student debt is really sad and it’s going to hamper the next generation. That’s why it’s so important to allow San Diego State to expand. It’s a more affordable university.”
“I’m a big supporter of the community college system. Which is a great place for many students to do their first two years and then transfer somewhere.”