It’s time to be honest. Any idea of keeping the Chargers in San Diego is a waste of time and money for the city. With all due respect to Mayor Kevin Faulkner’s task force, there is no way the city or city and county can afford to build a new stadium for the billionaire Spanos family.
A quick calculation on a very low estimate of the city commitment is $500 million. To pay that off at a very low 5 percent interest is $25 million per year. And that does not include the mortgage payments on the existing Qualcomm Stadium debt, which would still be due.
Right now the Chargers essentially pay no rent. The city has paid about $3 million to the Chargers over the past few years, according to Voice of San Diego. The Chargers receive every dollar of stadium advertising. They also receive all the income from the 19,000 parking spaces on 166 acres.
Various proposals include using the parking lot space of 166 acres for development. But the Chargers are not going to give up the income they already receive without some overwhelming compensation.
When you consider that Los Angeles has six times the number of people in their market area, the Spanos family could have a $2 billion dollar enterprise instead of the puny $1 billion business they have now.
But there is great opportunity here. If the Chargers leave, the football stadium remains for the Aztecs to use, as well as bowl games and other events. And because the crowds are not as large, the parking lot can be used for worthwhile projects.
Qualcomm University? Or San Diego State University? Or the Qualcomm campus of San Diego State University? When the Chargers leave, how about using the sky boxes and other areas as classrooms? Keep the stadium for the Aztecs and bowl games.
Then the city can lease the north part of the parking lot along Friars Road for commercial or residential enterprise. Develop the area by the river as a public park. And build dorms by the Trolley Station. This would be a huge improvement to an education-based town of which San Diego could be proud.
No doubt there is state money to increase education opportunities, and Qualcomm might just be interested in having a pipeline of educated students in their home town.
Incidentally, the Charger training facility would make a nice middle school.
Bottom line: Goodbye, Chargers. If you are a big fan, you can just watch them on TV. Most San Diego fans do, anyway.