LOS ANGELES — The San Diego City Council will decide next month whether to place two measures on the ballot: one to help fund a soccer stadium at the site of Qualcomm Stadium and another for a convention center expansion.

The proposal to turn the former home of the Chargers, a National Football League team, into a soccer stadium and master-planned community arose within weeks after the Chargers announced in January they were relocating to Los Angeles.

The city discussed plans to improve the stadium with the Chargers for 14 years, before the team finally bolted to Los Angeles. A separate convention center expansion was first proposed six years ago.

Talks fell off last week between San Diego State University and FS Investors, the developer on the SoccerCity project. The developer wanted the university to contribute $100 million to the stadium development and take over management after five years. The developer also has applied for an expansion team from Major League Soccer.

The developers appear prepared to move ahead without the university.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
“This short-sighted move results in denying the public a vote and getting nothing accomplished for our city," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The county’s office of registrar will verify on Wednesday whether the developer of the 166-acre Mission Valley property has collected the 71,646 signatures needed to place the initiative on the ballot.
The City Council could approve the $1 billion master-planned development outright without going to voters. The proposal involves a soccer stadium, 4,800 homes, 3.1 million square feet of commercial space, 450 hotel rooms and 55 acres of parkland.

The City Council is scheduled to vote June 12 on whether to hold a special election on Nov. 7 to increase the hotel tax to expand the San Diego Convention Center. Later in the month, they are expected to consider adding the SoccerCity measure to the ballot. The tax measure would require two-thirds city voter approval while SoccerCity needs a simple majority.

It costs the city $12 million a year to keep Qualcomm stadium open. After SDSU’s current lease expires next year, the city plans to close the stadium. The university’s football team, the Aztecs, plays there now.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer had announced during his State of the City speech in January plans to ask the City Council to place a hotel tax measure on the ballot to pay for a convention center expansion and to create dedicated funding streams for road repair and homeless programs.

The city’s voters in November rejected a tax measure to provide more than $1 billion of subsidies for a downtown Chargers stadium and convention center expansion.

The mayor held a press conference Friday, during which he and Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents Mission Valley, endorsed the SoccerCity proposal.

“This is a rare opportunity for San Diego and we should seize it,” Faulconer said. “It’s a chance to transform the heart of Mission Valley from a parking lot into a river park, economic engine, sports district and new community.”

University officials said in a statement that they are disappointed in the mayor’s actions.

“SDSU shares the excitement of a joint use stadium, affordable housing, and a River Park, as well as the prospect of an MLS team here in San Diego,” university officials said. “The FS Investors' initiative, however, is not in the best interests of the City of San Diego or of San Diego State University.”

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