San Diego Future….Race to Get Downtown”
I’m not sure anyone could see this coming, but it has arrived, and this promises to be a fierce fight between a “doer” and someone who wants everything “given to him.”
Dean Spanos, Chargers owner, meet Philip Anschutz, the global developer;
First came Petco Park downtown, and the years of fights with the obstructionists. When it was over, John Moores and Larry Lucchino and the voters won the election, beat back 22-lawsuits and got the much needed baseball stadium built.
Petco Park led to the rebirth of downtown, the Gaslamp, the explosive hotel growth, and Convention Center and so much more.
And now after 9-months of wrangling, Spanos and the Chargers will have their downtown Stadium initiative on the November ballot, though the gray areas on financing and final design are still out there to be determined. Details have been sketchy, but then alot of the stadium efforts tried by Spanos, have been sketchy for over a decade.
And now AEG, the global entertainment consortium,has proposed a 1.4B-NBA-NHL Arena for the Seaport Village parcel, as part of a major 70-acre redevelopments on the Bayfront.
You may say ‘pie in the sky’ but realize who these people are. They get it done. While the Chargers were printing splashy brochures over a 14-year period, trying to find a sight for a stadium, someone to pay for it, and swinging and missing on every idea, Anshutz went and got things done.
They dropped the Staples Center into old warehouse sights in downtown LA. Then came hotels. Then LA Live.
They worked hard on the concept of Farmers Field for the NFL-right next door, but walked away from the NFL.
Setbacks never stopped them-ever. They built a sparking arena in Kansas City. They oversaw the glitzy new NHL arena that has opened in Las Vegas. They built a gem of of an entertainment center in London, England.
They took over the struggling operation that was the old Sports Arena, once upon a time a mini-Great Western Forum, back in the day. They invested to upgrade it, fix it, paint it, and make it profitable.
So now Anschutz and his checkbook want to expand into America’s Finest City, with a multi-phase project that is about tourism, retail, entertainment, hotels, and office space. No project seems too big for them.
There will be battles with the hoteliers, with the Chargers, maybe even the Padres. But if track record means anything, AEG will not be denied.
And now there will be fierce competition for dates, events, money. Not just AEG, if this succeeds, against the Chargers package, but competition with the Convention Center, and the non-baseball event success the Padres have become.
The Port Commission looks at the proposal this week. Anschutz can write any check he wants, and he gets things accomplished.
Can you imagine what Pacific Highway will become, from Seaport Village, to a new Arena, to Petco, to the Gaslamp, to the East Village if this happens?.
I don’t know where the Chargers stand with their ideas. They still need a Stadium. They need financial help and they surely need a ‘yes’ vote come November. But now there is more competition on the horizon.
On top of that is the reality, LA is no longer an option, if it ever was.
The Rams just confirmed they’ve sold 63,000-season tickets for the first NFL season back in Los Angeles. The window may have closed on the Chargers going to Los Angeles. They are so very behind the power curve in accomplishing things. They thought Carson would work. They locked down a potential ‘tenant deal’ with the Rams. And now that seems gone. for the market belongs to the ones with the Horns on the Helmet, not the Lightning Bolt.
And sitting back watching all this is re-elected Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who still has the Qualcomm sight and financing package in his right hand desk drawer.
Now suddenly, as San Diego and its fabulout climate continue to grow, we have the potential for an NBA or NHL team, and a city that could grow to 4M within a decade.
If you are keeping score at home, AEG gets things done, and they want a new arena to open in 2019. The Spanos led Chargers just continue to struggle to accomplish things they need to get done to keep their franchise elite.
San Diego could come out a real winner. The leadership and accomplshment of the guys from LA is amazing. I’d be concerned if I was Team Spanos, considering who just azrrived with a new set of ideas, and a checkbook, downtown.
“Doers get things done. Wishers hope they could”