The Citizens' Initiative to build a multi-use sports complex and convention facility downtown received a pivotal endorsement on Thursday when the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce announced their formal support for the project.
"This plan to build a multi-use sports complex downtown will be a significant tool in the region's growth and development," said former Mayor Jerry Sanders, who serves as the Chamber's President and CEO. "We understand there are risks to this initiative; no ballot measure is ever perfect. But in our evaluation, the benefits far outweigh the risks."
The Chamber is the largest on the West Coast, representing approximately 2,500 businesses and an estimated 300,000 jobs. It is the hub for connections and collaboration among the regional business community, and uses that clout to advocate for public policies and candidates that support economic growth and the creation of jobs for all businesses.
"I really think it is going to make a huge difference for us in our campaign going forward," said Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos. "It would be very difficult to win this vote without the support of the Chamber…To the people of San Diego, this is the business community. These are the people that work in this community. That's probably the main reason San Diego is successful; because of the people in the Chamber. So I think it's a huge endorsement to have them support us."
A special ad-hoc committee appointed by Board Chair Ernesto Arredondo and chaired by Sanders met with Chargers representatives, partner organizations, and interested stakeholders to examine the plan and its potential impact. Sanders lauded the Chargers for how receptive they've been to the committee's recommendations over the past four months, putting them into action.
"They have been tremendously receptive," he said. "We've had a great working relationship. We brought up a lot of issues. They've worked on those issues and incorporated a lot of things, so it's been a pleasure to work with the Chargers on this whole issue."
Addressing reporters at Chargers Park, Margie Newman of the Chamber's Ad Hoc Committee outlined the role the Chargers play as a retention and attraction tool for business and employees.
"This is not about football business; this is about San Diego commerce….. Our committee unanimously agreed that this first of it's kind long-term home for the Chargers would responsibly drive the economic engine of San Diego. Think of all the employment opportunities alone. An estimated 7,000 permanent jobs for this project. An estimated 15,000 construction and construction related jobs for this project. Consider the estimated additional revenue this project can generate. 1.85 million downtown hotel room nights in the first 10 years of operation. An estimated 60 million per year increase in hotel room revenue. This is not about the NFL business. This is about local economic opportunity."
In the end, Newman succinctly summed up the Chamber's support.
"A new downtown stadium and convention center space with a long term commitment from the Chargers franchise is the right call not just for Bolts fans, but for anyone who is a fan of a thriving San Diego economy."
Paid for by Citizens for Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, with major funding by Chargers Football Company, LLC.