After more than seven years and $10 million worth of work, the Chargers are still in search of a publicly-acceptable way to privately finance a Super Bowl-quality stadium in the San Diego region.
The team’s efforts are now focused in three areas, according to Mark Fabiani, the team’s point man on stadium issues. In an interview with Chargers.com, Fabiani said that “after a busy summer of meetings with elected officials and community leaders, Oceanside, Escondido and downtown San Diego are all in the mix.”
Talks with Escondido began in earnest in May, according to Fabiani, with the Chargers, community leaders and city officials evaluating a series of stadium feasibility issues.
“The threshold feasibility issues, always, are parking and transportation infrastructure,” said Fabiani. “So our initial work focused on those areas. Now we have turned to the private financing question: will a development project, in conjunction with several hundred million dollars in equity contributions from the Chargers and the NFL, be sufficient to privately finance the entire project?”
To answer that question, Escondido city officials, community leaders and the Chargers will be meeting with a series of potential development partners to evaluate the market feasibility of the project. The first of those meetings will occur today in Escondido.
The discussions with Oceanside began in the spring, when Thomas Enterprises, a major national developer, approached the Chargers about a joint venture on a drive-in theater site that Thomas controls in Oceanside.
“We continue to work closely with Thomas Enterprises,” said Fabiani, “although the proximity of the site to the Oceanside Airport has proved to be a very significant barrier.”
The Oceanside City Council is due to discuss the drive-in theater site, as well as other potential sites in Oceanside, at an October meeting.
Downtown San Diego is also under consideration, according to Fabiani.
“Downtown’s advantages are clear: project costs can be dramatically reduced because the necessary parking and transportation infrastructure is already in place downtown,” said Fabiani. “At the same time the challenges of acquiring the necessary land downtown are enormous, and those are the issues that we are discussing with San Diego city officials.”