Voters in San Diego have approved a ballot measure that paves the way for a new football stadium for San Diego State.
Measure G, known as the SDSU West initiative, is a plan to redevelop city land currently dedicated to SDCCU Stadium -- the former home of the San Diego Chargers, where SDSU has played since 1967. In addition to a 35,000-seat stadium for the Aztecs, Measure G includes an expanded campus focused on research and technology, a river park with 90 acres of open space and additional residential and commercial aspects.
The measure passed with support from 54.44 percent of voters, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
SDSU West faced a competing stadium initiative -- Measure E or "SoccerCity" -- that called for a 22,000-seat stadium on the same plot of land in Mission Valley with the hopes of enticing a Major League Soccer franchise. If both measures received more than 50 percent yes votes, the one with the higher amount of votes would have won, but SoccerCity was soundly defeated, receiving support from just 37.4 percent of voters.
Before the plan moves forward, SDSU has to negotiate a sale of the land from the city at a price the city council determines is "fair and equitable," however that doesn't figure to be a major hurdle as six of the nine city council members endorsed the SDSU West plan.
"We are excited to move forward in this process and will keep our SDSU and San Diego community informed along the way," San Diego State president Adela de la Torre said in a statement to the university community. "SDSU will meet with the City of San Diego to discuss the next steps. We are prepared to begin negotiations immediately with the goal of finalizing the sale in 2019 and beginning construction in 2020."
The new stadium for the Aztecs is expected to cost around $250 million -- paid for by the school -- and will be designed to have the ability to expand past a capacity of 50,000 with a future NFL team in mind. It could also be used for a potential professional soccer team.
"SDSU Mission Valley will not rely on taxpayer dollars, student tuition or student fees," de la Torre said. "This is important to understand. The university will not raise student tuition or fees. The Mission Valley site plan is a self-supporting project that will be paid for by revenue generated by uses on the site."
SDSU will continue to play at SDCCU Stadium until the new stadium opens. The last Division I football program to build a new stadium was Colorado State, another Mountain West school, which opened its stadium last year.
In 2016, voters in San Diego voted down Measure C, which would have raised hotel taxes 4 percent to secure $1.15 billion in bonds to help pay for a proposed downtown stadium for the Chargers and convention center annex. The measure needed two-thirds of voters to approve the tax increase to pass but received just 43 percent of the vote.