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 signing up for the email list.

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. Over time, SDSU Mission Valley could add as many as 15,000 additional students.

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;
  • More than 80 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 capacity multi-use stadium for college football, professional soccer, other sports, concerts and events; expandable for NFL football;
  • 95,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail shops and business services;
  • 400 hotel rooms and 40,000 square feet of conference space that will accommodate visitors and serve as an incubator for students in SDSU's L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
  • Approximately 6,000 parking spaces for public and game-day use along with additional spaces as required for housing and retail.

The first stage of construction will include the new stadium, the River Park, and the initial phase of residential housing and research/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 expand its academic and economic impact on the region through a world-class research and Innovation District just three trolley stops from SDSU. 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.

SDSU Mission Valley 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 these industries 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.

The annual economic impact of SDSU Mission Valley is estimated at approximately $3 billion, including $21 million in annual tax revenue for the City of San Diego.

Based on a fall 2017 report, SDSU today generates more than $5.67 billion in economic impact and approximately $457 million annually in tax revenue streams for state and local governments. We also 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 (CSU) system-wide student costs are set by the Board of Trustees.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Planning Process

Yes. Transparency in this process is critical to SDSU. In 2019, SDSU initiated and completed a thorough and open California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process that allowed for significant public review and input. The CEQA process identified environmental and traffic impacts, as well as appropriate mitigation measures. The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified by the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees in January 2020.

Yes. Since the SDSU Mission Valley plan was released in 2017, SDSU has given more than 150 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 Updates page. You can also sign up for regular email updates.

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.

Following robust planning, prior technical studies, and community engagement that has already happened, SDSU undertook a year-long California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process that sought community input, released all relevant technical studies, and prepared a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Mission Valley site. The final EIR was certified by the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees in January 2020. More information is available on our CEQA page.

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in January 2020.

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.

Traffic Mitigation Measures

As identified in the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), SDSU will implement a number of major traffic improvements and will fund its fair share of traffic improvements in the SDSU Mission Valley vicinity. The EIR’s proposed traffic improvements are substantial, at an estimated cost of more than $21.5 million, and would be implemented at the points when land uses cause significant impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Significant impacts occur when development causes projected additional daily trips that increase traffic levels above acceptable thresholds.

Additionally, over and above the mitigation requirements, and as identified in the Final EIR, SDSU Mission Valley will provide an additional $5 million towards community benefit traffic/transportation improvements.

For further details on the proposed traffic improvements, refer to the SDSU Mission Valley Final EIR Transportation section.

During the public comment period, SDSU expects to receive, consider and respond to public input on the traffic analysis.
The traffic improvements will be completed or the university’s fair share obligation will be funded per the triggers identified in the Final Environmental Impact Report's (EIR) Mitigation Monitoring Plan, which makes the proposed traffic improvements and their timing binding on the California State University (CSU).
A traffic improvement/mitigation measure is considered technically “infeasible” if SDSU lacks the access and ability to implement the improvement.

With city coordination and access to the right of way, which was agreed to in the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the mitigation related to city improvements is now feasible.

Upon occurrence of a significant impact as identified in the Final EIR’s Mitigation Monitoring Plan and triggered by actual development and with the city’s coordination on the specific off-site traffic improvement, the improvements will be completed.

Finance

The Mission Valley site plan is self-supporting and 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 is utilizing revenue bonds through the California State University (CSU) 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 will be paid back by revenue generated by the site itself. The CSU Board of Trustees approved financing for the initial site development and River Park at its January 2020 meeting.

Public-private partnerships (P3s) will be a significant source of funding for SDSU Mission Valley, and will be utilized for the housing, retail, and 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 California State University (CSU) system 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 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process).

Initial costs are estimated at $350 million, much of it financed through systemwide revenue bonds issued by California State University (CSU) with long-term repayment coming primarily from public-private partnership ground lease revenues. Both the CSU and SDSU are also making initial capital investments in SDSU Mission Valley. The CSU system is investing $60 million and SDSU is investing $40 million utilizing auxiliary resources. SDSU’s investment will be paid back over time when ground lease revenue exceeds the debt payment.

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 $310 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, and 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 District, 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 into every project financed through California State University (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 a 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.

We are activating an additional strategy to expedite the timeline of revenue generation from public private partnerships in Mission Valley through the establishment of a $30 million contingency fund from one-time campus reserves. This strategy also allows us to avoid significant cost escalation from delaying construction and to minimize interest expense by taking advantage of the current very favorable capital market.

The estimated savings will far exceed the $30 million contingency set aside. This fund operates as an internal loan. While it may not be needed, it will be available to support academic, research, and Innovation District development needs for both SDSU Mission Valley and SDSU Imperial Valley. To be clear, this set-aside would be exclusively used to support academic and research capital development in the Innovation District, and will not support any component of Aztec Stadium, which relies strictly on stadium-related revenue. This strategy will allow for the university to expedite the timeline of potential public-private partnerships with our colleges and overall revenue generation for the university, and any dollars from this fund that are used will be repaid directly with ground lease revenue.

Given the current state budget and the anticipated reduction in state funding for any capital projects in the next few years, this contingency fund provides additional flexibility for SDSU’s future academic development needs.

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.

Negotiations with the City of San Diego are complete. The San Diego City Council approved the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) on June 30, 2020. The complete PSA is available here.

Our Partners and Consultants

A plan 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, SDSU Mission Valley 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. These consultant costs are budgeted as part of the full pre-development cost of $350 million which will ultimately be paid for through revenue generated by the site. For more information about anticipated costs and how the university plans to finance SDSU Mission Valley, 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 on the Visuals page of this 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.

Following a separate public bidding process, Clark Construction was also selected as the contractor for the SDSU Mission Valley site development. Along with their civil engineering design partner, Project Design Consultants (PDC), Clark Construction will be responsible for the site engineering and grading, construction of the site infrastructure, interior road network and utilities.

Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC (EY) serves as the master financial advisor and transaction advisor on the residential and hospitality components of SDSU Mission Valley. In this capacity, EY is providing ongoing financial analysis, supporting procurement efforts, assisting with due diligence on development proposals, and assisting SDSU in its negotiations with residential and hotel developers.

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP (GDB) 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 SDSU Mission Valley. With respect to the purchase and development of the Mission Valley site, the California State University (CSU) Office of General Counsel retained GDB to provide legal advice on environmental issues, including those related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Gensler has been selected as the architect for San Diego State University’s proposed new multi-use stadium. The leading global design firm will work alongside Clark Construction, which was selected earlier this year as the design-build contractor for the expandable 35,000-capacity stadium. They bring with them world class and current expertise in the design and delivery of sports facilities, including the Los Angeles Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium and Performance Center at Cal State Los Angeles, the new home of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center, and the recently opened Student Recreation and Aquatics Center at San Jose State University. Gensler is also responsible for the concessions redesign of Petco Park and the modernization of several NFL stadiums, including those in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

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 SDSU Mission Valley. In the purchase and sale phase of the plan, JMI Realty also served 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 at SDSU Mission Valley. 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.

In partnership with JMI Sports, Legends will manage the stadium project as part of the proposed campus expansion at SDSU Mission Valley. JMI Sports and Legends will plan, strategize and execute ticketing, premium sales, naming rights and founding partnerships for the proposed stadium.

Since 2017, JMI Sports and Legends have strategically partnered on projects to deliver optimal value for properties in the collegiate space, including the creation of a successful joint venture to manage Notre Dame's athletics sponsorship, hospitality, multimedia rights and branding services on a local and national level. Legends has a wealth of experience in Southern California, having partnered to provide planning, project management, naming rights and founding partnerships and premium and general ticketing solutions on both the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District and Banc of California Stadium projects, along with providing premium sales and marketing solutions on the renovation of the Rose Bowl and L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

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.

In partnership with Clark Construction, Project Design Consultants (PDC) has been selected to provide civil engineering services and survey services for both the new multi-purpose Aztec Stadium and SDSU Mission Valley. PDC was founded in 1976 with an office in downtown San Diego. PDC provides professional civil engineering, surveying, land planning, landscape architecture, water resources, and policy planning services to a wide range of public and private sector clients throughout San Diego County. Their long-term San Diego location has allowed them to hire many SDSU graduates over their decades of being in business; currently around fifteen SDSU graduates are part of their team. PDC is excited to be part of this catalytic development that will transform SDSU and the San Diego region.

Schmidt Design Group has been selected as the landscape architect for SDSU Mission Valley. In collaboration with the design-build team of Clark Construction and Project Design Consultants, the San Diego-based Schmidt Design Group will lead the design of approximately 80-acres of open space, more than four miles of hike and bike trails, and a significant regional river park adjacent to the San Diego River. The firm has a 36-year legacy of award-winning work that reflects a continual commitment to artistry and sustainability. Recent work includes the Waterfront Park, Civita Park, Pacific Highland Ranch Community Park, Ocean Air Community Park, Silver Strand “Natures Bridge to Discovery”, Arts District at Liberty Station, and Stone Brewing and World Bistro in Escondido and Liberty Station.

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 SDSU and the California State University (CSU) 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.

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