San Diego's updated plans for a new $1.1 billion stadium were immediately trashed by the Chargers, making it look increasingly doubtful the long-running, contentious issue can be solved by City Hall's Sept. 11 deadline to have a deal in place to qualify for a January vote.
The city and county of San Diego unveiled the updated plans Monday, a few hours after a local contingent made a presentation to the NFL's Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities in Chicago. The Chargers, who appear eager to move to Los Angeles, will update all owners on Tuesday on their joint plan with the archrival Oakland Raiders to build a stadium in Carson. St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke will give an update on his competing bid to build a stadium in Inglewood.
At a sun-drenched news conference overlooking aging Qualcomm Stadium, Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled a financing plan, architectural renderings for a new stadium and a 6,000-page draft of an environmental impact report.
The proposal includes contributions of $362.5 million from the Chargers, a $200 million loan from the NFL, $187.5 million in personal seat licenses, $200 million from the city and $150 million from the county. The public contribution will be capped at 32 percent of the total project, and the team would be responsible for overruns, Faulconer said.
Chargers point man Mark Fabiani was quick to criticize City Hall, as he has since the stadium push was revived in January.
"Never before in California history has a controversial, billion dollar project relied on environmental review documents hastily prepared in three weeks," Fabiani, a former deputy mayor of Los Angeles, said in a statement. "The Chargers have been clear from the start that the franchise will not be the City's guinea pig for this inevitably ill-fated legal experiment. Remember, these are the same politicians who told us, with disastrous results in court, that the convention center expansion could be financed by a vote of the hoteliers rather than a vote of the people."
The Chargers walked away from negotiations in June, saying they doubted the city could produce an EIR that will hold up in court.
The city and county have continued to work on the project.
"The NFL knows that San Diego is a great sports city," Faulconer said. "We're a great city that supports the NFL and the Chargers. They have said all along it is their clear desire to have teams stay in their home city, and we have said, very clear, regardless what may or may not have happened in San Diego over the last 10 or 13 years, that we have the ability to get across the finish line now, and I think we demonstrated that today.
"It will be up to the NFL and working with the Chargers here in the coming days to determine a path forward," he said. "We are ready, the negotiating table is open, and we'll see in the next couple of days."
The two sides have one month to agree to a deal so a special election can be planned.
"We will not have an election in January unless we have a final deal that has been agreed to," Faulconer said.
Eric Grubman, the NFL's point man on relocation, declined to comment on San Diego'spresentation.
There's been a perception the Chargers are slow-walking San Diego's proposal to eventual failure in order to move on with their deal with the Raiders.
"It's tough for the Chargers to show movement in San Diego when they're vying for the Los Angeles market, to be a team in Los Angeles," city attorney Jan Goldsmith said. "We get that. But right now you've got three teams vying for Los Angeles in a city that hasn't had one team in 20 years. We're in the game. "
The Chargers and Raiders announced plans for their joint Carson stadium after Kroenke announced plans for a stadium in Inglewood.
The Rams, Raiders and Chargers shared Southern California from 1982-1994. After the 1994 season, the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams moved from Anaheim to St. Louis. The Chargers played their first season in Los Angeles in 1960 before moving to San Diego.
San Diego County Commissioner Ron Roberts said he believes the Chargers "are trying to convince the NFL owners that San Diego can't make this happen. ... If you look at everything that's happened over the last year, not just over the last few months, the Chargers have tried to almost insult everybody involved with this: the efforts of the city, the prior mayors, the current mayor, the convention center. They've gone down a road of casting aspersions on every possible reason why this can't happen.
"We want to show the NFL, as much as show the Chargers, we're ready to move ahead with a new state-of-the art facility in San Diego."