Posts Tagged ‘Soccer City’

Since early October, 2017 a month’s worth of information has accumulated, thus I must respond.

Certainly, San Diego State University’s decision to become a competitor of FS Investors (Soccer City) changes the San Diego community view and prompts the choosing of sides, which is not unfortunate, rather necessary.  Are you a supporter of a university educating 30,000+ students or do you pine for retail and office space?

Once SDSU decided to employ Populous to develop and present the site design, any hint of amateurism or lack of commitment on SDSU’s behalf disappeared.  Any CSU campus committing $100,000 for stadium/site renderings is rare air.  Populous also brings familiarity given their development of Petco Park, to say nothing of several other football and soccer stadiums worldwide.

Populous hinting at the inclusion of soccer stadium design elements is strictly fodder for San Diego soccer fans, who are uncomfortable with FS Investors soccer/retail vision, to support SDSU West in hope of one day attending an MLS game.  I doubt SDSU will chase any MLS opportunity given the dicey financial nature of most MLS franchises.  The funding challenges facing SDSU are significant.  Adding a tenant who may (implying may not) make the lease payments on time is risky and unnecessary.  Inviting the Chargers, Rams and another NFL team to play August exhibition games is a guaranteed full stadium and tidy rental fee with no long-term commitment or presence of a tenant.

After partnering with Populous, the university hired PCI Consultants to launch and secure a signature drive to place SDSU West either on a ballot (6/18 or 11/18) or in front of the San Diego City Council for approval.  What could have been an unorganized gaggle of SDSU alumni and students sprinkled throughout the city and county without any signature gathering experience is now a well-coordinated army of signature gatherers stationed in front of mega-shopping centers, grocery stores and malls as of October 21, 2017 through the next ten weeks (ending just prior to January 1, 2018).  Oh, yes, do include the Aztec home games during that time frame.  To say nothing of campus.  Tens of thousands of Aztec alumni and students is the ultimate captive audience.  The required 71,646 signatures for the ballot initiative will be easily eclipsed by 25,000 to 30,000 at the end of the year.  I find intriguing the City Council option of approving SDSU West without the necessity of a ballot measure (this possibility was implied in Roger Showley’s UT article dated 10/19/17).  Why have a messy election if we can receive a stamp of approval instead?

Speaking of the San Diego City Council, council member Chris Cate’s illegal delivery of city documents pertaining to Soccer City to FS Investors will develop into a festering wound that drains away some public support for Soccer City.  I do not propose that Mr. Cate’s entry into UPS/Fed Ex competition makes for a complete collapse of Soccer City, but his foolish action and unapologetic response will irk San Diego citizens who have no patience for politics as usual.  If Mr. Cate’s illegal activity blossoms into charges filed by the Attorney General of California, Soccer City will find itself unwittingly, but deservingly, attached to Mr. Cates legal woes.  Expect SDSU supporters to emphasize that connection without mercy.

The San Diego City Council and Mayor Faulconer must acknowledge that SDSU West provides something more than a retail opportunity (stressed by FS Investors) and the associated minimum wage/low paying jobs.  Does San Diego want or need another Fashion Valley?  SDSU West is an investment in not only SDSU’s ability to absorb a student population increase of 50% by 2030, but also employment opportunity for professors, researchers, university administration and support as well as the continued education of what becomes a legion of California taxpayers.  Nothing beats a solid base of taxpayers in maintaining not only a city or region, but also the financial vitality of a state.  Would San Diego citizens rather enjoy the benefit of university based jobs paying between $40,000 to $125,000+ annually or the thrill of minimum wage moans of young adults stuck in the vortex of low paying jobs?  Kevin Acee’s 11/3/17 UT article sums the choice nicely:  “My sole desire is to see whatever is done on the property be the best for San Diego’s economic and cultural advancement . . .”  Indeed.

As for the money to develop the area and football stadium, SDSU currently sits on $150 million, an amount of money that needs to increase.  The university recently completed a ten-year fund-raising effort that resulted in $815 million for all things Aztecs.  SDSU administration and alumni have substantial fund raising skills.  The school can issue construction bonds to cover some costs.  Stadium and field (always separate the two) naming rights will generate significant sums of money for the school to payoff said bonds.  In addition to generous current and, no doubt, future donors, SDSU can use funds from the Campanile Foundation to assist in developing SDSU West.  Too many San Diego citizens forget that SDSU continues to undergo impressive physical change on campus.  Money is found for priority campus projects.  Money will be found for SDSU West.

The next time you drive past SDCCU (I prefer the Murph), would you rather see a university or a retail outlet in its place?

 

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Soccer City seems to be slowly disintegrating.  Public support for Soccer City has shrunk considerably since May.  In the meantime, the NASL has placed a professional soccer franchise in San Diego ready to play in 2018.  Does San Diego need two professional soccer teams?  No.  Will San Diego support two professional soccer teams?  No.  No is the exact point made by Kevin Acee’s criticism of San Diego (politicians, business people, voters, citizens, elderly, disabled, students, surfers and pet owners) from his 6/19/17 UT article, yet Mr. Acee found his uncomfortable truth in the word, “No”.  Mr. Acee needs to stop grappling with political reality as well as wishing on a star that MSL will “wait to add more teams” in the hope that Soccer City will win enough votes November, 2018.  No.

Mr. Acee’s comparing the Chargers hemming and hawing for years to the city council’s denial of a special election equates with comparing the Civil War to pushing and shoving.  His claim that “we’re a joke” is nonsense.  The citizens of San Diego know a tilted political favor when they see one.  FS Investors was all too cozy with the mayor’s office as evidenced by a 3,000 page document (Soccer City) that not a soul in the mayor’s office read from the first page to the last page.  Elected officials and staff need to make the time to understand what they agree to place on expensive special election ballots.  Not having time to read a War and Peace sized document does not meet the challenge of effective public stewardship.  Special elections are not doled out as praise for a job not done.

Mr. Acee writes, “But, dang, this city just won’t get out of its own way when it comes to accomplishing anything.”  Perhaps Mr. Acee could lead the charge on behalf of SDSU in building and/or renovating the Q as well as the creation of SDSU West in Mission Valley so that the largest CSU campus in the state can accommodate 50,000 students by 2030?  Perhaps?

Again, when he invokes the Chargers in comparison to Soccer City woes with “The Chargers could have gotten something done here”, Mr. Acee inadvertently points to the problem that is Soccer City:  Much like Dean Spanos, who wanted everything for nothing, so to does Soccer City see an old-fashioned land grab at minimal expense to themselves as a legitimate method of developing the last piece of sizable land in San Diego without the challenge of competing ideas.  Soccer City reeks of overbuilding, uncertain promises and Charger game day traffic seven days a week forever.

Mr. Acee disingenuously wrings his hands with the concern “. . . how long it will be before we get an alternative plan up and running at last.  At least.”  Please.  San Diego State University is engaged in presenting its vision with or without partners.  Also, other San Diego based development groups want to participate in the request for proposal process to compete against FS Investors (who seemingly seek to avoid competition).  Plenty of options from interested parties will be ready for public vetting by summer’s end.

Finally, as this piece began with the word “no”, I end with “yes’ on behalf of San Diego and SDSU West.

 

 

The simplistic thought process of Kevin Acee’s 6/23/17 UT piece is astounding.  Mr. Acee, long a Soccer City supporter at the expense of SDSU, suggests that Aztec football coach Rocky Long lead the school to the light known as Soccer City (beware of train tracks and tunnels).

Per Mr. Acee’s musings, he insists that Mr. Long must rise in Aztec Warrior gear and smack SDSU administration on its collective helmet to knock sense into all things Aztec.  Key to this dream is Mr. Acee’s reference to Mr. Long once loudly disagreeing with a former athletic director.  A coach, not just football, who speaks his mind?  Who knew?  Believe the vision or else prepare for shouting.

As the article unfolds with alarms, sirens, flashing red lights and general call for panic, Mr. Acee obviously wants SDSU to return to the fleecing of Soccer City whereupon the university would underwrite the annual operating expenses for an MLS squad per agreement with FS Investors.  I think not.

Mr. Acee forgets that FS Investors is under no obligation to pursue an MLS franchise.  Also, MLS has never guaranteed granting a San Diego franchise.  Attaching the future of Aztec football to a potential MLS franchise has all the surety of fog.  Since when does a stadium ranging in capacity from 22,500 to 30,000 satisfy the desire to move up the college football money ladder?  FS Investors development plan physically surrounds the proposed stadium with various forms of development that would make impossible the false promise of stadium expansion.   Moving a multi-story office building slightly to the left to expand the end zone is a non-starter.  SDSU would guarantee itself the proud owner of the smallest MWC football stadium.  The best football team in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.  The most populous city in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.

As Mr. Acee writes of solutions, then he immediately dismisses said solutions.  No viable alternative exists.  All is lost.  The end is, oh, so near.  Only Soccer City saves.  Amen.  Soccer City accepts checks and credit cards.  Tell a loved one.

But, don’t tell Rocky Long.  Rocky will smack you upside your helmet.