SBD/May 23, 2011/Facilities

Report: Qualcomm Stadium Needs Nearly $80M In Maintenance, Repairs

Projected annual operating loss for San Diego is between $10.6-13.8M
A city of San Diego report found that Qualcomm Stadium needs $79.8M “in maintenance, repairs and improvements over the next seven years,” according to Schrotenboer & Hall of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The study indicated that the city “will continue to lose more than $10 million a year operating the stadium through 2020 regardless of whether the Chargers stay, get a new site in San Diego or leave the county.” The report said that in any of those three scenarios, the “projected annual operating loss for San Diego” is $10.6-13.8M through '20, excluding “bond debt payments and any maintenance or improvement work.” The Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium lease runs through '20 and the team “can break it each year by paying an early termination fee, currently about” $24M. Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said, “We believe we’ve presented some better alternatives. If people don’t want to pursue those alternatives, then obviously the city has to make decisions about what to do with the building, and the decisions will only get more difficult as the building gets older.” Fabiani called the report the “most extensive review of the deferred maintenance that’s ever been done.” Attorney David Watson, who was Chair of the city’s Citizens’ Task Force on Chargers Issues in '02, said, “If there was no question at all that the Chargers were going to stay then it might be worthwhile to put forth the effort to make all the repairs you’re talking about. But if the Chargers leave, they (city officials) better have a plan to justify that.” The report, conducted by contractors AECOM and Magellan Consulting, did not address “what to do with the stadium if the Chargers leave or if the city should build a new stadium for the team.” If the Chargers leave San Diego County, the city “would have to consider the viability of maintaining the stadium for San Diego State football games (six or seven home games per year), plus two bowl games in late December as its major tenants” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/21).
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