Mike Stone, Steve Altman and SoccerCity Team Recommit to Supporting San Diego
Under a cloudy Thursday sky, Mike Stone, the founding partner of FS Investors, former Qualcomm Vice Chairman Steve Altman, United States Men’s National Team legend Landon Donovan and other supporters of SoccerCity gathered to address the citizens of San Diego in regards to some of the false facts that have been percolating through San Diego as campaign season has escalated.
From the beginning, the SoccerCity project was conceived with an eye towards offering San Diego a way forward in the wake left by the Chargers’ departure. The basic idea was to replace the decrepit stadium and massive parking lot with a thriving sports and entertainment district complete with a 60 acres of parks, housing units, music venues and a brand new mixed-use stadium for both a Major League Soccer expansion team and San Diego State athletics to anchor the entire SoccerCity project.
Unfortunately for the investors behind SoccerCity, events have not transpired as they might have desired. The fledgling partnership with San Diego State University broke down when Fred Pierce, Jack McGrory and others of that ilk became involved. The former university president who negotiated the deal that became SoccerCity was ousted, and the schism that has brought us to where we are today was born.
In the weeks and months since, the FS Investors group behind SoccerCity have been demonized as greedy developers from out of town who descended upon the carcass of the Chargers old home to ravage San Diego and extract as much value as alienly possible.
Mike Stone took to the podium on Thursday to address some of the more egregious falsities that have been circulated about what SoccerCity can and will deliver in the event the voters approve the project on November 6th.
“There has been a lot of confusing information over the last several months and we thought it would be worthwhile to take a step back and provide some perspective on what we’re committing to providing the voters and tax payers of San Diego,” opened Stone.
“Our team has called San Diego home for over 100 years collectively. Claims that we are outsiders are outrageous nonsense. Each of our core investors have lived here for decades. We’ve all raised our children here and San Diego is our home. Therefore, we take our commitments seriously and very personally.”
Mike Stone went on to reaffirm his groups commitment to the fundamental tenants of the plan to provide a place for SDSU to expand its campus footprint on 35 acres of the property, to deliver a Major League Soccer expansion team, to spend $40 million to build a river park and integrate green spaces throughout the site, to spend $50 million to mitigate the anticipated increase in traffic, to pay the city of San Diego $110 million for the SDCCU Stadium site and the nearby Murphy Canyon training facility and to build and maintain an academy for the best and brightest male and female soccer players from the area to hone their skills and learn to compete at the highest level.
Former Qualcomm Vice Chairman Steve Altman, who is not part of the FS Investors firm, but is a major investor in the project itself, took the stand to advocate for his part in the planning process.
“This was and continues to be a legacy project for us. Something that we and our families can and all San Diegans would enjoy for generations to come. At that time, everyone we talked with was excited about the project including SDSU’s former president and former Athletic Director.”
“We are a group of local residents who care deeply about SDSU as a public institution, but its leaders change frequently,” said Altman.
“Since we began our discussions, the university has had three different Presidents and two different Athletics Directors.”
We have committed to provide for SDSU but their true needs have been hard to define. Over the past few years, I’ve heard SDSU administration state that they do not need this land to expand for as much as 20, 30 50, even as much as 80 years from now.
“But as the campaign heated up I'm hearing the they also recently started saying they need the land sooner.”
“Now with a month before the vote, in response to questions about how the plan to pay for all this development, they conceded publicly that they haven’t finished putting all the numbers together and they still have their homework to do.”
Landon Donovan closed the press conference out with some comments on the validity of Major League Soccer actually expanding into San Diego, and offered some insight into the potential for talented young players to pursue their dreams via the fully funded Youth Academy that SoccerCity would build and operate.
“One other thing I’d like to clarify today,” said Donovan. “I hear from the proponents of Measure G is that Major League Soccer has a better chance of coming to San Diego with Measure G.”
“When you get past laughing at that statement, you realize that MLS will not come to San Diego with Measure G. MLS will 100% come to San Diego with Measure E.”
“We want people to know very clearly that this is an opportunity of a lifetime. When franchises are leaving this city, we have the opportunity to bring the fastest growing sport in America right here in San Diego.”
“It was almost too good to be true when we were declared Measure E because we have long said that SoccerCity is for everyone.”