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New stadium could cost up to $1.7 billion

Dean Calbreath, SAN DIEGO DAILY TRANSCRIPT

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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   The study says that a new stadium would cost at least $725 million but would more likely be much higher, partly because the cost of building an NFL stadium has been rising faster than the overall inflation rate in the construction industry.
   San Diego is struggling to find a way of enticing the Chargers to stay in Mission Valley.
   On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council and the County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay a consultant up to $500,000 to help a plan for building and financing a new stadium in the Mission Valley site, supplementing the work of a nine-person task force that Mayor Kevin Faulconer assembled to address the issue.
   In the meantime, Faulconer's task force spent part of Tuesday afternoon on the phone with NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, who will meet with the team in person Tuesday.
   Adam Day, chairman of the task force, described the conversation as "very productive" and "a good exchange of information."
   But so far, the team has given no indication of giving up a plan for a joint stadium with the Raiders in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson at a cost of $1.7 billion.
   The team has said that unless San Diego institutes a new tax to support the stadium, it doubts the city would be able to support a similar stadium.
   And local politicians say a new tax would be extremely unlikely, especially because it would have to gain the support of a supermajority, two-thirds of voters.
   Since 2009, no stadium has cost less than $1 billion, according to the National University study.
   A new stadium scheduled to open in Minneapolis next year is projected to cost nearly $1.1 billion, with $150 million covered by a new hotel tax. A stadium that will open in Atlanta in 2017 is projected to cost $1.4 million, aided by $200 million in municipal bonds.
   The Atlanta stadium will include a retractable roof and the Minnesota stadium will feature a transparent roof and movable windows, which may not be needed in San Diego because of its fairer weather.
   Even so, the study says that "in all likelihood, the cost would exceed $1 billion" and could be from $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion, based on the costs of the most recently built stadiums in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Santa Clara, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis and Atlanta.
   In an Internet chat Monday with the task force leaders, Chargers fans suggested several ways to raise more money for the stadium, ranging from online crowdsourcing to selling season parking passes to tailgaters.
   But the National University survey suggested that the public will have to pay half to two-thirds of the construction costs of the facility, as well as ongoing subsidies for maintenance.
   "In many cases [at other stadiums], the revenue generated at the facilities through rent and concessions fails to exceed the funds required to maintain a structure exposed to the elements and used by hundreds of thousands of fans," the study read.