City News Service
Proposals for a new home for the San Diego Chargers are expanding to include an entertainment and convention center complex in the downtown area, the team's point man for stadium development said Monday.
Talk about building something more than a stand-alone stadium has picked up steam in recent weeks, Mark Fabiani told sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith on XX Sports Radio 1090.
"That's an idea that's gaining some traction," Fabiani said. "I think it's an idea that's starting to make a lot of sense to people.''
Some developers are interested, he said. Whether the idea gains support should be known in a few weeks, Fabiani said.
"Not only could you create a venue for Final Fours and American Medical Association conventions, but you could also free up that land at the Sports Arena site, if you have the equivalent of a sports arena downtown," Fabiani said.
"You could then sell or lease that land, you can sell or lease the Qualcomm (Stadium) land. You could put all the money the city loses on those two pieces of property in a new project.''
The interview came on a day when Mayor Jerry Sanders and his staff reportedly gave a closed-door briefing on the stadium search to officials with the San Diego Sports Commission.
The super-sized proposal was to be a topic at meetings this week, according to Fabiani.
"Whether people are in a mood to think big right now is a big question because obviously the economy is still is very poor, the city's budget situation is very poor," Fabiani said.
The Chargers want to put a proposal to a public vote next year.
A group in Los Angeles is also seeking to build a new downtown football stadium and entertainment complex, and would have to attract a franchise, with the Chargers frequently mentioned as a candidate.
Fabiani said the proposed projects in San Diego and Los Angeles both depend on the survival of redevelopment agencies for funding.
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed eliminating the agencies as part of his budget plan, but it has yet to be passed by the Legislature.
Developing a stadium without redevelopment money would be very difficult, for the Chargers or any other stadium proposal in California, Fabiani said.