“We’ve taken our case straight to the NFL and league officials have encouraged us to continue moving forward,” said Faulconer. “The game isn’t over.
“We’re entering the fourth quarter and time remains to negotiate a fair and responsible agreement for voter approval if the Chargers return to the negotiating table. Our environmental report is on schedule and we will continue moving forward toward a stadium solution.”
The San Diego coalition gave NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman and other league officials a review of San Diego’s progress since last month’s meeting with the NFL in New York City. The city has already begun environmental planning work with experts, put a negotiating team in place that has been ready for some time to talk financing and demonstrated that a public vote can be held by January within the NFL timeframe, if the Chargers resume negotiations.
In addition, Atkins joined the group for the NFL update.
“We want the Chargers to stay in San Diego if the right agreement can be reached,” Atkins said. “As I have said before, if an agreement is reached, I am committed to making sure San Diego can benefit from state legislation that is consistent with what other cities have received for their sports facilities.”
Roberts said, “The support of Speaker Atkins further strengthens the fact-based message that we delivered today. San Diego is prepared and equipped to negotiate and construct a new stadium on whatever schedule the NFL determines best for the league.”
The city-county team also explained in detail how an environmental impact report (EIR) can be prepared on an expedited schedule because it is a reconstruction of an existing facility of a smaller capacity on the same site. The city-hired planning firm AECOM has assembled a team of more than 90 experts – many working extended hours – to complete the report on time. The EIR is on schedule to be released for public review by Aug. 10, the same day the city-county team is scheduled to meet with an NFL owners’ committee in Chicago.
“The NFL saw today that the city and county are on the same page and well-prepared to meet a January deadline,” Goldsmith said.
However, the city-county’s stadium efforts hinge on the Chargers returning to the negotiating table. The team would need to agree to a financial term sheet with the city and county in the next several weeks to hold a public vote in January. So far, the Chargers have declined to negotiate finances.
The city-county negotiating team is prepared to meet as often as necessary with the Chargers to reach agreement on a stadium financing plan.
In his first year in office, Faulconer became the first mayor since the Chargers began their stadium search more than a dozen years ago to state unequivocally that a new stadium needed to be built on his watch. During his first state of the city speech in January, he announced the creation of the Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group to recommend the optimal location and make financing recommendations.
At the Chargers’ request, the advisory group agreed in February to expedite its recommendations and report back within 90 days. In March, the group recommended the current Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley as the best location for a new stadium.
In April, city and county leaders unanimously approved a partnership between the two local government agencies to work collaboratively and share consultant costs for a potential new stadium. Later that same month, the city hired investment banker Citigroup and law firm Nixon Peabody to assist with developing possible financing options and related development for a stadium. Both firms have extensive experience with professional sports facilities throughout the country, including several NFL stadiums.
In May, the Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group released its recommendations for a $1.1 billion stadium project in Mission Valley and identified funding sources of $1.4 billion as a financing framework.
Faulconer, Roberts and Goldsmith held three negotiating sessions with Chargers representatives before the team walked away from negotiations on June 16. The city-county team has since been talking directly with the NFL and a bipartisan supermajority of the City Council approved moving forward with the EIR earlier this month.