By DAVE SCHWAB | Mission Times Courier
Officials at a third and final public workshop Sept. 24 discussed a draft environmental impact report out for SDSU Mission Valley.
A long-term, voter-approved plan, SDSU Mission Valley calls for demolishing SDCCU (Qualcomm) Stadium and redeveloping the 86-acre site.
Proposed redevelopment would include a 35,000-capacity expandable stadium, 1.6 million square feet of campus education, research, entrepreneurial and technology facilities, new recreation and open space, construction of 4,600 residences plus about 400 hotel rooms, creation of a 34-acre river park, approximately 95,000 square feet of community-serving retail space and enhanced use of the MTS Green Line Stadium Trolley Station.
On its current timeline, the university expects to break ground on the project in early 2020 and complete the phased redevelopment in its entirety by the mid-2030s.
Laura Shinn, SDSU’s director of planning, presented at Mission Valley Marriott Hotel on the draft EIR out for 60-day public review.
“This is a big project with regional importance,” said Shinn, noting the project site was once a broad river plain with a flowing channel changing seasonally, and was mostly farmland with natural trails. When the stadium (initially named Jack Murphy) was built in the ‘60s, she pointed out it had to be raised out of the riverbed plain.
Shinn said the project site needs to be re-engineered to redirect drainage from Murphy Canyon Creek to avoid future flooding on-site.
One long-term project goal is to “green up” the new satellite SDSU campus via creation of new recreation and open space interconnecting with bicycle/pedestrian paths and a new river park blending in with construction of campus mall-type space.
“The general idea is to have the plan evolve over time,” said Shinn.
“We’re proposing 5,000 parking spaces in structured parking below the campus,” Shinn said, adding the proposed multi-use stadium, which could be expanded to a capacity of 55,000 to accommodate a future pro team, would be built first.
“The primary focus of the building would be for NCAA football, but it could also support soccer, concerts and community events,” she said.
The draft EIR identified some major environmental concerns.
“There were significant, unavoidable impacts found to air quality, noise, housing, population, public services like fire and emergency medical and traffic at Friars Road and Stadium Way,” Shinn said adding traffic congestion is planned to be mitigated with new and better traffic light signalization.
“We’ll be making some improvements to bike lanes,” said Shinn noting those improvements are planned to include showers and lockers as well as bike-share parking.
The draft EIR public comment period ended Oct. 3. Shinn said public comments will now be evaluated, with comments to be published in a final EIR to be released in early 2020.
SDSU is currently in talks with the city to buy the 132-acre parcel of land on which SDCCU Stadium sits.
In February, Maryland-based Clark Construction, which worked on Petco Park and SDSU’s Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences building, was selected as the contractor for development of the university’s Mission Valley satellite campus.
For the campus extension, Clark Construction will work with Project Design Consultants for the planning and construction of the new campus.
“The campus expansion at Mission Valley will be transformative for San Diego,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “The university and its partners will be building and expanding on this site for years to come, and we need to ensure that the physical foundation — and the teams helping us to lay that foundation — are strong and highly dedicated to the success of the region.”
SDSU has said it will not increase tuition or student fees to pay for SDSU Mission Valley. Rather, initial costs, estimated at $300 million, are to be financed through short-term financing and revenue bonds issued by the California State University system.
The project site will ultimately be developed through public-private partnerships. Bonds will be repaid with revenue generated by leases with SDSU’s public-private partners.
The multi-use stadium is estimated to cost $250 million, which will be financed by revenue bonds. The repayment of the revenue bonds will be covered by revenue generated by the facility (ticket revenue, facilities rental revenue, naming rights, sponsorships, donations).
— Reporter Dave Schwab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.