San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Mayor Jerry Sanders have released a joint statement announcing the football club will continue playing in Qualcomm Stadium in 2012 and won’t trigger the lease’s termination clause this year.
The lease the team renegotiated in 2004 allows it to notify the city that it will relocate to another city between Feb. 1 and April 30. In the statement, the two parties said they are continuing “to work closely together to explore publicly acceptable ways to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium on the bus maintenance yard site in the East Village of downtown San Diego.”
“Both the Mayor’s Office and the Chargers look forward to continuing their joint efforts to build a multi-use stadium that will benefit the entire region,” the statement said.
The Chargers have made it known that the 10-acre downtown site just east of Petco Park is “the last, best option,” for the team and that they have been working with Sanders to put the stadium issue on the November ballot.
An estimated $800 million stadium would be difficult to finance, given the fact that redevelopment funding derived from tax increment taxes is no longer available to the city. A recent California Supreme Court ruling upheld state lawmakers’ dismantling of more than 400 redevelopment agencies.
Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ special counsel on the issue, has also been advocating a combined Convention Center expansion and a domed stadium that could attract college basketball Final Fours and other major sporting events, but Sanders has said that the planned $520 million center expansion does not include any combination with a stadium.
Despite repeated assertions from the Spanos family that it is committed to finding a way to keep the franchise in the region, there’s been ongoing speculation that the team could move north to Los Angeles, where there are two competing stadium projects, one in downtown Los Angeles led by AEG Entertainment, and another in the City of Industry led by developer Ed Roski Jr.
— Mike Allen