SDSU West: Final Thoughts

Posted: October 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

SDSU West developed in full sun light.  Soccer City tried desperately to avoid the ballot, at best wanting a special election, thankfully denied by the San Diego City Council.  Numerous private discussions with Mayor Faulconer ultimately proved a waste of time.

SDSU expanding campus into Mission Valley allows the school to accept thousands of more students and graduate thousands of more students.  These young men and women enter the California work force educated and making above average salaries that in turn make our state’s economy grow.  SDSU West generates long-term economic health for decades to come.  Additionally, the university’s expansion requires more professors, academic support staff and administration to join the current SDSU work force of 42,000, which strengthens the tax base of San Diego.

Speaking of tax, SDSU West relies on zero tax payer support.  None.  Nada.  Zip.

SDSU committed more than 50% (approximately 85 acres) of the site purchase to open space via the creation of a San Diego River park, biking/hiking trails, community parks and recreation fields.  Soccer City does not have a legal obligation to develop a river park. Options rather than written commitment dominate their ideas about the development of open space.  Options that lead to little green area development other than two benches under a tree.  Wiggle room carries the day for Soccer City.

FS Investors purposefully underestimated the daily traffic generated by their retail dominated development.  FS Investors claimed daily traffic at 71,500 trips while SANDAG estimated a minimum of 97,000 daily auto excursions through Mission Valley.  Miscalculating by 25,500 (or 36%) daily auto trips is pure misrepresentation.  I suppose such gross miscalculation is never seen regarding FS Investors long-term planning.  I cannot imagine a FS Investor board member shrugging his shoulders at a meeting discussing revenue when an error of 36% is discovered.

Remember the Chargers?  The good years and all that traffic.  Imagine that four-wheel nightmare on a daily basis.  I give you Soccer City on a daily basis.  SDSU West is projected to generate daily traffic trips of 60,440 or 38% fewer trips compared to Soccer City.  Retail lives 365 days.  Imagine the grind of traffic during the holidays and summer.  The heaviest traffic load SDSU West will create is the Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. rush to class.  Remember, SDSU hits the traffic snooze button during the summer and about six weeks from December to January.

Consider the inevitable slowing economy or recession.  740,00 square feet of Soccer City retail themed development crumbles into a hollow shell of empty businesses, vacant parking lots and the formerly employed of Soccer City looking for work elsewhere.  Horton Plaza serves as a fine wreck of an example of too much retail during economic contraction.  The mere idea that Soccer City is retail dependent gives cause for pause in a city loaded with technology companies and the associated well paid work force.  A sales associate at a jewelry store instead of a technological entrepreneur?  Since when?  Which is best for San Diego?

FS Investors does not have a Major League Soccer team at the ready to deposit in their stadium.  By the way, that stadium has a mandated construction date of 2025!  They push the stadium as a center piece of Soccer City.  Yet, they seem prepared to keep the tools in the shed for a number of years.  They must admit that expanding their soccer stadium to meet the needs of Aztec football is limited and most definitely unlikely.  FS Investors is a business.  What benefit do they receive by altering their soccer stadium to placate SDSU’s desire for increased seating during football games that brings no revenue to FS Investors?

Contrast the definitely-maybe Soccer City approach to stadium building to SDSU’s much spoken, much researched and much desired need for a stadium.  Do note, that university officials, while desirous of a football stadium, do not view the stadium as the center piece of SDSU West development.  The stadium is part of the proposal.  Not the proposal.  SDSU has generated and made public their vision of a football stadium.  SDSU has a football team ready to use the stadium.  SDSU does not need to search for a team to place inside the stadium as does Soccer City.

SDSU is a research based university.  Acquiring $134 million in research funding and grants during the 2017/18 academic year does not happen by accident.  No other Cal State campus comes close and one-third of UC campuses do not secure as much funding.  SDSU has accessed similar amounts of research funding dating back to 2015.  In recent years, SDSU’s Campaign raised $815 million for campus wide funding.  The school produces more than $457 million in state and local taxes.  Expanding SDSU into Mission Valley makes these dollars grow substantially.  As FS Investors will tell you, this is all about the money.

 

 

 

 

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