The latest plan for a downtown multipurpose facility is interesting, to say the least.
The Downtown San Diego convention center expansion and possible addition of a multipurpose stadium has been a controversial topic for some time now. With the near loss of the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles, are San Diegan’s open to new ideas to keep them here? I definitely hope so and I think the Spanos family is counting on it!
The San Diego Chargers announced that they have moved their efforts towards building a multipurpose stadium in East Village. They have partnered up with John Moore’s company, JMI, in an effort to make it happen. The plan is very complex and I won’t even attempt to explain it all, nor act like I understand it, but I have read quite a bit about the topic.
Where Is The Proposed Site?
- The facility would be located in Downtown San Diego’s East Village, just 2 blocks from Petco Park, home of the Padres.
- It would be bordered by Imperial, K, 12th and 16th.
There is one other obstacle they must get past before the non-contiguous Convention Center plan goes into effect.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is not currently behind moving the Charger’s stadium downtown and still wants to focus on Mission Valley. There is a current bill for a contiguous Convention Center expansion for public vote in June 2016. Comic-Con has already stated that they prefer an expansion where the current convention center stands. Instead of a non-contiguous convention center expansion with a multipurpose stadium, they prefer the existing convention center increases in size.
The problem with the contiguous convention center expansion is that the bill will take a 2/3 vote to pass. California State Law says that if a tax is increased for a specific reason, ie a convention center expansion, it requires a 2/3 vote in favor of the project. I personally think the Mayor knows this will not get passed with a 2/3 vote. That leaves the only other option for a convention center expansion to the non-contiguous addition.
Who is paying for this stadium?
The best part of this non-continuous plan is that the people of San Diego would not be paying for the stadium. The idea behind the plan is to put a vote on the ballot for an increased TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax), often referred to as Hotel Tax. The current tax rate is 10.5%, which is extremely low by comparison to Los Angeles (14%), San Francisco(14% + 1-1.5% tourism improvement assessment) and Seattle (15.6%). The new bill would raise the Hotel Tax in San Diego to 15.5% and the money would go into a “General Fund”. Since it is for a general fund and not a specific project, it only requires a majority vote (50% + 1 vote). This general fund would need to be used to improve the downtown area. While the plan doesn’t specifically say the money is to go towards the Convention Center Expansion, the hoteliers have an option of paying 13.5% instead of the 15.5% tax, as long as they use the other 2% on the area where the convention center is planned. Since the convention center expansion would help hotel owners, they will more than likely take this option. This is a very complicated loophole that many think will be battled in court if it does get passed.
The plan also specifically states that the tax dollars are NOT to be used for the stadium. So who is funding the Charger’s stadium? The Charger’s owners would be responsible for building the actual stadium, but they would be using the infrastructure in place for the convention center expansion. This includes plumbing, parking, foundation and more. The new stadium is estimated to cost about $700 million.