Sports projects in San Diego County hurt by redevelopment ruling
Two professional sports projects in San Diego County are among the construction projects likely to be curtailed by Thursday's court decision upholding the Legislature's move to abolish local redevelopment agencies and shift the money to the state government.
Without redevelopment funding, plans for a 9000-seat baseball stadium in Escondido to lure a minor league team appear doomed. City officials had tentatively earmarked $50 million in redevelopment funds to build a venue for a San Diego Padres farm team now playing in Tucson.
Padres principal owner Jeff Moorad purchased the Portland Beavers and moved the team to Tucson for the 2011 season, with the goal of moving it to Escondido once a park was built. If the Escondido move is not possible, Moorad has said he will probably sell the Tucson Padres.
In San Diego, the court decision ends any thought of using redevelopment funds to build a downtown football stadium for the San Diego Chargers to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium and keep the team from moving to another city, possibly Los Angeles.
Without redevelopment funds, the city would be more dependent on bond funding or have to design a project in which a stadium is only part of an entertainment complex. Mayor Jerry Sanders has promised to unveil a financing plan by the end of March, with a public vote to follow.
The Chargers have floated the idea of a project that includes an expansion of the waterfront convention center and a new stadium nearby -- although that idea has critics.
"We never believed redevelopment money would be available once the Legislature and governor acted last year," said Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani. "Even had the court today ruled the other way, we felt the governor and Legislature would just have found some other way to get at the money. Hence our combined stadium-convention center expansion idea."
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Credit: Gregory Bull / Associated Press