It’s novel, it’s thinking outside the box, it is a step forward in creativity, it has no financing behind it.
And so the new JMI proposal to convert the Qualcomm Stadium 166-acre sight into a West Campus, for San Diego State, USD, and UCSD, was unveiled to positive reviews.
But as in all things San Diego, no price-tag was ever affixed to it, no commitments by any of the universities towards the project, and no funding plan was put forward.
All we heard from the JMI (John Moores firm) was that the land should be donated to the University as a starting point. That seems to carry no clout because the price of that property has enormous value for future business development, and it is an asset for the city.
The plan entails using the tract to develop a 40-acre San Diego Riverwalk Project, which would involve state funding.
The proposal envisions seeking Research grants, to allow for the construction of academic research buildings, much needed at SDSU.
There would be condos for 3,900 students, helping the housing crunch for SDSU-USD; a 1,400-car garage to alleviate the parking horrors up on Montezuma Mesa. There would be faculty buildings and even faculty apartments. There would be 200,000-square feet of commercial space for a University village.
Part of the plan might be the building of a 35,000-seat stadium for both the Aztecs and for a possible MLS team, possibly using the inside bowl of the Chargers current stadium, and converting the outside part of the stadium to office space. And of course, a 200-room hotel, a Moores-JMI specialty, would be part of the deal.
It is just a flashy idea right now.
I don’t think the city will give away the land, but using City-County money to help fund the project, the money originally earmarked for the NFL stadium, would be a step in the right direction. Getting Sacramento River-Walk money, a large amount, would help grow the pot. Research grants, and money from the Cal system, plus SDSU and USD, could all be part ot the funding scheme.
We have glossy slick pictures and drawings right now. We have ideas. Next would be a game plan as to how to fund all this, privately and professionally.
Growing our academic signature in San Diego is a spectacular idea. Making the West Campus a reality will be a much more complicated mosaic to paint.