Plans for a new stadium and convention centre in San Diego are to be supported by the city’s mayor ahead of next month’s public ballot.
Voters will decide on November 8 whether a new arena for the San Diego Chargers NFL American football team should be constructed in the city’s East Village area.
While no official plans have been drawn up for the redevelopment as yet, backers of the ‘Measure C’ project have said that the stadium would be big enough to host the NFL team and Super Bowls, as well as other high-profile events.
Now Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said he will endorse the ballot measure after reaching agreement with the team – which attempted to move to Los Angeles last year – on a series of new financial safeguards and other concessions.
"This is about working toward common goals that will get solutions for the public good," Faulconer told the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. “We put aside differences to find common ground."
If Measure C is approved, the Chargers would contribute $650m (£510m/€582m) for the stadium portion of the project, using $300m from the NFL and $350m from the team, licensing payments, sales of ‘stadium-builder’ ticket options to fans, and other private sources. The city would raise $1.15bn by selling bonds that would be paid back with higher hotel tax revenues.
The concessions include the team agreeing to cover any escalation in construction or land costs beyond current estimates, guaranteeing that city general fund money will never be used for the project and promising that money for tourism marketing will stay at its current level.
Faulconer told the newspaper that the concessions make Measure C more of a compromise between the city and the team that currently plays at the Qualcomm Stadium.
He said: "It's no secret that I had concerns and it's also no secret that I thought it was important to get financial protections. These safeguards obviously strengthen this measure and strengthen things moving forward in the future."
The concessions were not enough to persuade opponents of the project to change their mind.
Tony Manolatos, spokesman for a coalition of community leaders and politicians called ‘No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!’, said: "There is a reason so many community leaders and organisations oppose Measure C. It would divert more than $1bn in new taxes to a stadium project and subsidise an NFL franchise worth more than $2bn. Anyone who says it's a good deal for San Diego is more interested in politics than good public policy.”