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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

SDSU will regularly inform students, faculty, staff, alumni and general community members of timely updates and other news related to SDSU Mission Valley. You can receive those updates by email by signing up here: Email List Form.
Yes. This plan provides a blueprint for the university’s long-term growth. The availability of appropriate space for quality education is crucial to SDSU’s future enrollment growth.
Plans for the Mission Valley site include:
  • 1.6 million square feet of academic and research/innovation space, affording technology transfer between companies and SDSU researchers;
  • 89 acres of open space with a river park, athletic and recreational fields, and more than 4 miles of hiking and biking trails;
  • Approximately 4,600 residential units, including student, faculty, and staff housing, as well as, affordable, workforce, and market-rate housing;
  • A 35,000-seat multi-use stadium for college football, professional soccer, other sports, concerts and events; expandable for NFL football;
  • 95,000 square feet of campus- and neighborhood-serving retail shops and business services;
  • Approximately 6,000 parking spaces for public and game-day use along with additional spaces as required for housing and retail, and spaces for the hotel/conference facilities that will accommodate campus visitors and serve as an incubator for students in SDSU’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
SDSU expects the first stage of construction will include the new stadium, the river park, and the initial phase of residential housing and campus/innovation space.
SDSU has committed to building 10 percent of the units on site as affordable housing, approximately 460 of the 4,600 units. Those units will be available to those who qualify for affordable housing, including students, faculty, staff and the general community. Additionally, SDSU will work with its private sector development partners to ensure additional units are attainably priced for students, faculty and staff, as well as the community.
Yes. SDSU will build a true multi-use stadium designed specifically for both soccer and football. We would welcome a professional soccer partner.

SDSU Mission Valley will provide SDSU with the opportunity to build a world class university research and innovation district just three trolley stops from the main campus. We know that every dollar invested in Mission Valley will benefit our university, our students and the City through the economic return of higher education. The dividends will come in the form of a better trained workforce and greater economic development.

The project will also enable the university and its partners to help people expand their livelihoods, create new career pathways, and expand our region’s capabilities when it comes to finding solutions through research and development across the many growth sectors in San Diego. As a national hub for biotech, life sciences, technology, defense, and hospitality and tourism, it is imperative that we not only provide educational opportunities for local students to enter those fields but also work with industry to innovate and expand the amazing work already happening here in San Diego.

SDSU will also build a river park for all San Diegans to enjoy, along with much needed housing, and a new multi-use stadium.

Everyone. The design of this park allows for active and passive uses that make for a vibrant green space, not just for the campus community to enjoy, but for all San Diegans to use and take pride in.
SDSU is working with a consultant to estimate the tax revenue that the planned development will generate.
 
Based on a fall 2017 report, SDSU generates more than $5.67 billion in economic impact and approximately $457 million annually in tax revenue streams for state and local governments. With more opportunities for higher education, incubator space, commercial and retail, it is anticipated that number will increase to the benefit of the entire region. We know that for every 10,000 additional graduates, an estimated $200 million in annual economic output is generated for the regional economy.
No. This plan will not increase student tuition or fees. The California State University system-wide student costs are set by the Board of Trustees.

 

CEQA Planning Process

Yes. Transparency in this process is critical to SDSU. SDSU will initiate and complete a thorough and open CEQA review process that will allow for significant public review and input. The CEQA process will identify environmental and traffic impacts, as well as appropriate mitigation measures.

Yes. Over the past year, SDSU has given more than 100 presentations on and off campus for input into the plan. Robust community engagement will continue throughout the entitlement process. For more information about how to share your input with SDSU, please check our community engagement page. You can also sign up for regular email updates here.

Additionally, SDSU will continue to have meaningful dialogue with city planning groups, the San Diego River Park Foundation, the San Diego River Conservancy, the City of San Diego, and other interested stakeholders.

Given the robust planning, prior technical studies, and community engagement that has already happened, SDSU envisions a year-long CEQA process that continues to seek community input, draft all relevant technical studies, and prepare a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Mission Valley site. Our goal is to have the final EIR approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in early 2020. More information is available here

The NOP comment period occurred from January 18, 2019 - February 19, 2019. Three public scoping meetings were held during the 30-day notice period on January 29, January 30 and February 7, 2019. Nearly 150 community members attended and we received more than 90 comment letters on the NOP.

Over the next few months, our technical team will be analyzing the project and preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which we hope to release this summer.

Yes, SDSU has more than 120 years of land-use planning and development experience. In the last six years, SDSU has completed more than $500 million in capital projects including classroom, residential and mixed-use buildings.

 

Finance

The Mission Valley site plan is a self-supporting project that will be paid for by revenue generated by uses on the site. SDSU Mission Valley will not rely on taxpayer dollars, student tuition or student fees. SDSU will also utilize public-private partnerships to leverage private sector financing as well as additional skill sets from a variety of commercial, industrial, and residential developers.

Additionally, SDSU will utilize revenue bonds through the California State University system for the initial investment to prepare the land for development and construct the river park. This is not the same as taxpayer dollars. These bonds can only be used for revenue generating projects like this and will be paid back by revenue generated by the site itself.

Public-private partnerships (P3s) will be a significant source of funding for Mission Valley, and will be utilized for the housing, retail and campus innovation district buildings. These partnerships are used across the country and allow universities to mitigate the financial risk inherent in the construction and operation of a building by letting that risk lie with the private sector who in return shares in the value of the buildings that get built. P3s will also generate property tax revenue because they will be shared spaces with industry.

The CSU has completed many P3s, and successful examples within and outside of the CSU include:

  • Montage on College at SDSU
  • University of California, Davis West Village
  • Georgia Tech’s Tech Square
  • Arizona State University Research Park
  • Innovation Village at Cal Poly Pomona

Initial site development costs include the land purchase, site infrastructure, river park, and off-site mitigation (as part of the CEQA process).

Initial costs are estimated at $300 million, to be financed through short-term financing and revenue bonds issued by the California State University (CSU) system; the site will ultimately be developed through public-private partnerships (P3s). These are not the same as taxpayer dollars; bonds will be repaid with revenue generated by leases with SDSU's public-private partners.

The CSU is “double A” rated with excellent, established access to the capital markets and $6.3 billion in outstanding revenue bonds. The CSU regularly issues bonds to construct revenue generating projects that do not require student tuition or taxpayer dollars—self-supporting projects similar to the types of projects envisioned for SDSU Mission Valley. The estimated site preparation costs and river park development costs are modest compared to the CSU’s overall capital program capabilities and experience.

The CSU has access to significantly lower cost of capital including:

  • Short and Medium term debt instruments (Commercial Paper, Floating or Fixed Rate Notes, Put Bonds, Direct Bank Loans)
  • Long Term Revenue Bonds, if needed.
The multi-use stadium is estimated to cost $250 million which will be financed by revenue bonds. The repayment of the revenue bonds will be covered by revenue generated by the facility (e.g., ticket revenue, facilities rental revenue, naming rights, sponsorships, donations.)
Much of the vertical development will be financed with ground leases to third party development partners through public-private partnerships. Development partners will provide private financing to develop and construct residential units, the innovation campus, hotel and retail outlets. Public-private partnerships will allow the university to have access to new space without bearing the risk of financing, operations and maintenance of the buildings. The planned development schedule would begin in 2020 and is anticipated to take approximately 10-15 years for full build-out. Buildings would be occupied as they are constructed.

Contingencies are built in to every project financed through CSU revenue bonds (including ensuring a cushion in revenues well above the debt service/repayment and anticipation of interest rate increases before final financing of the project). Other campus and CSU revenues, not generated from tax dollars (state appropriations) and not tuition or student fee resources, can be used to make financing payments.

Student tuition and fees are not part of the contingency plan.

The CSU has never defaulted on a debt payment.

Yes. Because many of the new buildings in Mission Valley will be shared with private entities, they will generate property taxes based on possessory interests. Due to the anticipated length of the lease agreements, the tax revenue will be similar to standard property taxes.

Additionally, retail establishments and the hotels on the site will generate sales tax and transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue for the City of San Diego.

City leaders and SDSU have been meeting regularly to discuss items of importance that are critical to ongoing discussions. SDSU has also received a Right of Entry permit in order to continue progress on the draft Environmental Impact Report for the development. Additionally, the City and the Board of Trustees of the California State University, acting on behalf of SDSU, are entering into a Memorandum of Agreement regarding cooperation and confidentiality. This document will govern the negotiation process and outlines a number of conditions, including CEQA consultation, confidentiality of information, requests for public records, and other items important to reaching an agreement.

 

Our Partners and Consultants

For more than a decade, San Diego State University has advocated for the Mission Valley site to serve the region’s higher education needs and a public purpose as a campus expansion. A project of this size, scope and lifespan requires an extensive long-term strategy that involves planning, problem-solving and broad community input. In 2017, at the request of the community members on and off campus, then-SDSU President Sally Roush requested that the university develop an in-depth site plan. The site plan held many functions, namely to: ensure the San Diego region had a tangible understanding of what SDSU desired to develop on the site; add to the public dialogue and provide mechanisms for community input; and provide transparency to the public about the impacts of a potential SDSU-led development at the Mission Valley stadium site.

SDSU engaged experts to assist in the development of a plan that met the needs of both the SDSU community and the greater San Diego region. These partners/consultants provided and continue to provide research- and experience-driven consultation, as well as specialized expertise SDSU does not currently have on staff, particularly in the areas of master planning and conceptual design work.

For SDSU, the Mission Valley project is an investment in the future of the University and the greater San Diego region. This investment, including the payment of consultants, is not being funded through the University’s state appropriation, student tuition or student fees. In order to develop a comprehensive site plan and strategy for Mission Valley, SDSU invested approximately $1.575 million for work done by our consultants and partners between January 2017 and October 2018. These consultant costs are budgeted as part of the full pre-development cost of $300 million which will ultimately be paid for through revenue generated by the site. For more information about anticipated costs for SDSU Mission Valley and how the university plans to finance the project, see the “Finance” FAQs section above.
Carrier Johnson + Culture is an award-winning local architecture firm that has worked on some of the most iconic developments in San Diego, including Ballpark Village, and a number of higher-education facilities throughout the region and state. Carrier Johnson + Culture was selected through a competitive process to serve as the site architect and master planning services for SDSU Mission Valley. The team’s initial scope of work included research and analysis of previous plans for the site, recommendation of a design approach, development of master plan options and design and documentation to support final site plan approach, including renderings. Initial versions of the site plan map and conceptual renderings created by Carrier Johnson + Culture are publicly available in the “Visuals” section of the sdsu.edu/missionvalley website.
SDSU selected Clark Construction Group through a competitive bidding process to serve as the design-build contractor for the new multi-use stadium that is part of the SDSU Mission Valley development. Clark Construction’s locally based team boasts significant sports facility expertise and strong relationships with San Diego-based subcontractors. They have been responsible for the design and construction of several successful sports facilities including Petco Park, in addition to a number of local projects such as the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton and SDSU’s Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences building, which opened in 2018.
Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP is a law firm specializing in land use/environmental law, which was retained initially to provide legal advice regarding all aspects associated with conceptual development of a satellite campus development in Mission Valley. With respect to the purchase and development of the Mission Valley site, the CSU Office of General Counsel retained GDB to provide legal advice on environmental issues, including those related to the California Environmental Quality Act.
Intesa Communications Group is a local strategic communication and public relations firm that offers SDSU specialized communications and public outreach strategy support. The team has worked with SDSU for several years providing support on a number of projects, including SDSU’s new student residence hall project and recertification of the university’s campus master plan. Specific to Mission Valley, Intesa Communications Group has been engaged since 2017 to assist with strategy and implementation of the university’s efforts to share its site plan for Mission Valley with the greater San Diego region. Their services augment the efforts of SDSU’s internal Strategic Communications and Public Affairs team, which supports day-to-day communications, media relations, community and government relations, web development, social media and marketing.

JMI Realty is a local real estate company specializing in urban redevelopment. JMI Realty was hired in 2017 to provide consulting services to GDB on the planning for the SDSU Mission Valley campus. In the purchase and sale phase of the project, JMI Realty is also serving as a consultant in negotiations with the City of San Diego. JMI Realty’s scope of work is focused primarily on the strategy and management of the master planning process, including financial analysis, market research, and reviews of technical studies and due diligence research related to the property.

While JMI Realty is being paid for its services to SDSU, the company will not serve as the “developer” of any portion of the Mission Valley site. SDSU will work through its existing procurement process to select development partners for the residential, hotels and innovation district buildings.

JMI Sports is a local management and consulting firm that provides services to the sports marketplace. This team of consultants was retained by GDB to provide advice on the planning for the new multi-use stadium to be located on the SDSU Mission Valley campus. Their scope of work is focused primarily on the strategic planning and pre-development planning for the multi-use stadium, including assistance in the development of the conceptual design, business/financial modeling and revenue planning, pre-development master planning and also project budgeting.

Populous is a global architecture firm specializing in large, community gathering spaces, like major sports stadiums. The team has developed thousands of venues, including several of the most recent major event venues, stadiums, arenas and ballparks, including more than 1,000 collegiate projects. Populous’ scope of work included the development of a feasibility design study to explore the feasibility of a new multi-use stadium and a football-only on-campus stadium. Populous was selected through a competitive procurement process.

Additionally, renderings created by Populous are publicly available in the “Visuals” section of the sdsu.edu/missionvalley website.

Sheppard Mullin is an international law firm with offices in San Diego. The University has hired Sheppard Mullin, including lawyers with real estate and other expertise, to provide legal advice to San Diego State University and the California State University system in negotiations with the City of San Diego on the purchase and development of the stadium site. The CSU Office of General Counsel selected Sheppard Mullin in a competitive process.

Public Policy Strategies is a political consulting firm that provides strategy for government relations efforts. For approximately one month in 2017, when SDSU was contemplating next steps related to the Mission Valley site, Public Policy Strategies assisted in developing initial strategy. The contract was terminated when the firm became affiliated with the entity supporting the ballot measure that later became known as Measure G, also known as SDSU West. SDSU Mission Valley and SDSU West are not synonymous. SDSU West was an initiative led by Friends of SDSDU, a group of university alumni and supporters; SDSU Mission Valley is the university’s vision and plan for the Mission Valley site.

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