It is possible to construct a new stadium in San Diego with no new costs to the city [“Deano Spanos’ lameduck Chargers,” Feb. 3]. It must be built downtown adjacent to Petco Park. Building it downtown is advantageous for two reasons. First, it must have a roof that allows it to become an “event center.” Second, it must be downtown to utilize Gaslamp and other restaurants and bars before and after events, as well as downtown hotels. This event center can be used over 200 days a year like the center in Indianapolis.
Placing it downtown allows the selling and redevelopment of the Qualcomm site and building it with a roof allows the selling of the sports arena site. This plan puts both sites back in the private sector. Selling both sites should provide about $250 million for the new center.
The next move is to use the old redevelopment concept of having local agencies agree to defer the new property taxes from this new private property for 10 years. The city can zone these properties to make them very attractive. The deferment of taxes is better for the local agencies than the deal not going through and getting nothing. The deferred property taxes should net another $250 million over the 10- year period. After the 10-year deferral, this additional income would be a windfall for the city, county and public schools.
The NFL/Spanos have already said they will contribute $300 million. The new naming rights should be worth $250 million over the 30-year bonding period.
The events in the new “event center” should contribute over 200 events a year, in addition to the Chargers, that will make substantial money. Thus, the center itself should contribute minimally $300 million over the 30-year bonding period. The combination of the various revenues adds up to sufficient financing to build a quality center without new cash from the city or county.
This public/private ownership of a new “event center” in downtown San Diego would benefit San Diegans who might wish to go to basketball games, hockey games, concerts, NCAA events, national political party conventions as well as the Chargers and Aztec football games and Super Bowls. The coordination with the convention center is obvious. Let us not forget that tourism is our number-one private business in San Diego. This “event center” can create thousands of jobs in the center, restaurants and hotels.
James C. Wilson, San Diego