San Diego State planning August start after final approval for stadium project

San Diego City Council has approved the purchase and sale agreement for SDSU Mission Valley, the $3.5bn (£2.8bn/€3.1bn) multi-purpose development anchored by a new 35,000-seat stadium, placing San Diego State University on track to break ground on the site within a two-month period.

The deal to sell 135 acres of Mission Valley land to SDSU for more than $88m represents the last major hurdle in what is claimed to be one of the biggest and most complex real estate transactions in city history.

Following a required 30-day waiting period, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will sign the agreement, fully executing the sale and beginning the escrow period. Transfer of ownership is expected to take place in early August and construction will begin on the site shortly thereafter, with the stadium and the 34-acre river park first in line for development.

In a joint statement, Faulconer and SDSU president Adela de la Torre said: “The final and historic City Council approval of the sale of the Mission Valley stadium site to San Diego State University ushers in a new era for both the City of San Diego and its oldest university. It brings an end to any questions about the future of the stadium site and begins the revitalisation of public land to better serve our regional community.

“SDSU Mission Valley will create an academic and research hub helping generations of San Diegans achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals. It will create thousands of jobs and strengthen our regional economy. It will also support many of the City’s goals by creating more housing, including affordable housing; enhancing mobility options with new bike and pedestrian paths; increasing transit use; and improving the quality of life for all San Diegans through the creation of a world-class river park.”

In March, SDSU secured the financing and board approvals needed for its new Aztec Stadium, with construction lined up to begin once it acquired the land for the facility from the City. The $310m multi-use stadium will be funded through philanthropic gifts as well as system-wide revenue bonds that will be paid back with revenue generated by the facility including ticket revenue, naming rights and concessions.

Mainly used for American football games, the stadium, which has been designed and will be built by Clark Construction Group in association with Gensler, will be located in the northwest corner of the site, which allows SDSU to continue to use the existing SDCCU Stadium while construction of the new venue is completed.

The stadium is targeted for completion in time for the 2022 football season, with the wider project to be developed in stages over 10 to 15 years. Derek Grice, SDSU’s executive associate athletic director for Mission Valley development, told the San Diego Union-Tribune: “It’s an aggressive schedule, but I think I’ve told everybody that aggressive is who we are.

“Just because it’s aggressive does not mean it’s not doable. We have a good plan in place and we have the right partners on board to execute that.”

Image: Gensler