TKF United - Stadium Talk That Rocks with Fred Pierce and Katy Temple
This past week I recorded an interview with my friends from The Kept Faith for a segment we call TKF United. The purpose of this series is to take a look at the Mission Valley Stadium saga in the build up to the November election. In this episode, we sat down with Friends of SDSU spokespeople Fred Pierce and Katy Temple.
You can listen to the full episode here, but I wanted to spend some time taking a closer look at some of the comments that emerged while we were on the mic so I cut a couple choice bits for a deeper dive.
Katy Temple is a local media personality who covered sports in San Diego for years before launching her own media coaching company, while Fred Pierce is the developer who spearheaded the formation of the Friends of SDSU group that is behind the SDSU West. While Temple is somewhat new to the SDSU West team, Pierce has featured regularly over the last year and a half as a vocal advocate for San Diego State University.
In our interview, Pierce opened up by recalling the moment when he decided that the SoccerCity Initiative wasn’t in the best interest for SDSU. The actions he then took were chronicled by Voice of San Diego’s Andy Keatts in June of 2017, but we had Fred tell the story in his own words:
It should be noted that the proposed 33,500 seat stadium that SoccerCity would build to accommodate SDSU is only 1,500 seats smaller than the 35,000 stadium that is proposed in what eventually became the SDSU West proposal.
While, Pierce opened by emphasizing the massive importance of the stadium to the university’s long term success, he did eventually remember that the better argument is the one that summons sympathy from people who value education first.
The Master Plan that Pierce refers to is an important tool in determining the future of universities all across the country. SDUS’s current Master Plan can be found on their website
The Campus Master Plan documents all current and planned development for the campus. The most recent Campus Master Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees of the CSU on May 16, 2017 as a re-approval of a 2007 Campus Master Plan with modifications. The EIR for the 2007 Campus Master Plan was also recertified at this meeting. The current Campus Master Plan includes an increase in the campus enrollment ceiling from 25,000 FTE to 35,000 FTE and six site specific projects. Modifications to this plan also include a number of major and minor revisions and updates made to the Campus Master Plan since 2007 and approved by the trustees or by the Executive Vice Chancellor through delegated authority.
I also found this timeline to go along with the explanatory paragraph above.
One of the reasons I was excited to talk to Fred Pierce in the first place as because of this video that I came across a few months back. Pierce Education Properties is a phenomenally successful, locally based business that specializes in development on university campuses. Fred introduces his company here:
I think it is a beautiful thing to see an SDSU graduate become successful based on the knowledge acquired on the mesa and turn a little start up company into the empire that it is today. The fount of expertise that Pierce has developed over the last 25 years was first cultivated when he took a gamble that paid off:
One piece in particular that stood out to me during the course of this interview was the funding mechanism by which SDSU would actually execute the build out of SDSU West, in the event that the initiative passes in November:
I also found it somewhat interesting that Pierce was originally hired as a consultant to put together a business plan for a new expansion development for SDSU and then transitioned that plan into “the big contract” to develop the land surrounding the university.
With decades of experience in university real estate, Pierce also develops and provides advisory services for student housing, Greek housing, and university real estate projects. For over 10 years, Pierce served as Master Developer of the College Community Redevelopment Project together with the San Diego State University Foundation. Pierce’s leadership has fostered the acquisition, entitlement, planning, development, and construction of several billion dollars of planned and completed student housing and university-supporting real estate projects.
The blurb above is from the Pierce Educational Properties website. The degree of depth of Pierce’s activities in this university development industry make him an excellent candidate to execute the build out of SDSU West in the event that the initiative is successful in November, and it probably explains why he knows so much about taxes and financing of these types of deals.
The ad that Nick McCann references in that last clip can be viewed here:
This last clip references a rather long interview that the current CSU Board of Trustees Chair Adam Day did with the San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board. The section of the interview I refer to in my question is here:
Union-Tribune: But CSU is not exempt from the criticism that you read about all the time in places like The Chronicle of Higher Education and education blogs who ask… and I still haven’t received a good answer… why we now have more administrators than teachers. How has the college system changed where 25 years ago, 30 years ago we had two instructors for every administrator and now it’s one to one? What are these people doing?
DAY: Well, I don’t know what the statistics are specifically in CSU, but I do know part of it has to do with philanthropy and development. We’ve had a deep dive on this issue as a result of reduced state investment, and that’s just a matter of fact. It’s year over year… if you could take it as a… as a snapshot in time, we are getting less dollars from the state on a raw basis than we were whatever number of years ago you want to take and we’re educating far more students.
To help make up for that gap, we’ve vastly increased our fundraising capabilities on each and every campus and at the system. So I know people like to talk about managers and administrators… and I share that concern… but a big chunk of it is development and if… you know, we don’t like to compare ourselves to other institutions, but if you look at the levels… the types of positions… vice president is an example rather than a vice chancellor… I think we stack that pretty well.
As Fred Pierce mentioned early on in our conversation, he spent six years as a member of the CSU Board of Trustees.
His combination of knowledge of the CSU system, affinity for San Diego State University and intimate interest in the big business of campus redevelopment make him the ideal person to lead the Friends of SDSU in their quest to redevelop the SDCCU Stadium site on behalf of San Diego State University, building a development that is eerily similar to the SoccerCity plan that previous SDSU President Elliot Hirschman did everything but ink before abruptly decamping to some place I’d never heard of and can’t recall without the aid of a search engine.
Both plans feature new stadiums, thousands of residential units (with a small portion reserved for students only), a river park, hotels, retail space and classroom and office space for businesses to integrate research. One plan depends on borrowed funds from unconfirmed sources, while the other is privately financed and also comes with a Major League Soccer team.
One way or another, on November 6th San Diego’s voters will decide what we want. Frankly, I’m looking forward to November 7th.