SBD/January 10, 2012/Facilities

San Diego Moving Closer To Downtown Stadium For Chargers

Chargers will not break lease with San Diego to relocate to another city this year
Officials with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders' office and the Chargers "moved closer to an agreement on building a downtown football stadium Monday even as the team suggested that a public vote on how to pay for it may slip several months to spring 2013," according to a front-page piece by Matthew Hall of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Sanders and Chargers Chair & President Dean Spanos yesterday "announced the team would not pay the city nearly $24 million to break its lease and move to another city this year." Each year until '20, from Feb. 1 through May 1, the Chargers are "able to relocate by paying San Diego a fee that decreases about $2 million to $3 million a year." Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani "did suggest something new: That both sides are on the same page again after months of brinksmanship." He said yesterday that the team would "table its plan for a stadium that doubles as convention center space in hopes of finding common ground." Fabiani added that the team's proposal "could be revived if Sanders' convention center expansion falters." Sanders has "long maintained that a convention center expansion should proceed separately from stadium construction six blocks away on an East Village bus yard." Fabiani said that it "remains unclear how to pay for a possible $1 billion stadium but both sides still agree the East Village site is the best option." Sanders "reiterated his resistance to include a tax increase in a stadium plan," and he has told N.Y.-based consultant Lazard "to find other funding sources." Sanders said yesterday, "This is not about a tax increase. We made it very clear to Lazard we are not going on the ballot for a tax increase because that’s simply not going to happen." Sanders "leaves office this year because of term limits." A plan, which "could involve hundreds of millions of dollars of public money, could be ready for public review by March." Fabiani's suggestion yesterday that a referendum on the plan "might slide to a special election in the spring of 2013 marked the first time either he or the mayor has publicly proposed leaving the project in the hands of a new San Diego mayor" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/10).
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