San Diego State University (SDSU) has held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Aztec Stadium, a project that has been deemed the Californian city’s most significant sports and entertainment venue since the opening of Petco Park in 2004.

The ceremony was designed to mark the university officially assuming ownership of the Mission Valley stadium site. Anchored by Aztec Stadium, the new home for the San Diego State American football program, SDSU Mission Valley is a $3.5bn (£2.65bn/€2.93bn) multi-purpose development that aims to benefit the local community for generations to come.

Upon breaking ground, one of the first major construction projects to undergo development will be the stadium, which is scheduled for completion in autumn 2022.We are building a stadium for Aztec football, international and professional soccer, concerts, and any other event you can think of,” said SDSU athletic director John David Wicker.

“A world-class 35,000-capacity stadium designed to offer the amenities fans expect today. This is the most important sports and entertainment venue in San Diego since Petco Park and will be available 365 days a year for our campus and community.”

In June, San Diego City Council approved the purchase and sale agreement for SDSU Mission Valley, 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 represented the last major hurdle in what was claimed to be one of the biggest and most complex real estate transactions in city history.

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.

SDSU Mission Valley is projected to expand the university’s economic impact in the region by $3bn annually. Along with football, Aztec Stadium will be able to host select SDSU men’s and women’s soccer matches, as well as women’s lacrosse games.

“What happens on the ground right here, beneath our feet will elevate San Diego State and elevate San Diego in ways that we can’t possibly imagine,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “San Diegans should take great satisfaction in knowing that the future of this land is finally set as a place where education, athletics, and the community will thrive side by side for generations to come.”

Clark will begin construction with grading and infrastructure work, ahead of the stadium and River Park construction. Clark Construction is expected to employ an estimated 3,500 to 5,550 workers through both the stadium and site development. San Diego State has called SDCCU Stadium home since 1967.

Image: SDSU