San Diego State plays UNLV this weekend but before the Aztecs even take the field on Saturday, the school received perhaps their biggest victory of the past several years early Wednesday morning.
As per the San Diego Union-Tribune, residents in the city soundly approved the Measure G ballot initiative on Election Day with 55 percent of the vote — paving the way for the school to buy the land surrounding the team’s current home of SDCCU Stadium in order to redevelop the area. Naturally, given that the stadium itself is 51 years old at the moment, those plans will eventually include demolition of what many know as Jack Murphy Stadium for a proposed 35,000 seat venue that would be the future home of the Aztecs and potential MLS and NFL franchises.
“All we’re doing is saying, city sell San Diego State the land at fair market value. Then, San Diego State has to go through a normal land-use process with a full environmental review and not jam something down the throats of the voters,” former city manager and current member of the steering committee behind the ‘SDSU West’ project, Jack McGrory, told the paper. “That’s what this community saw in (competing) Measure E. They were getting jammed.”
Measure E, which was known more commonly as the SoccerCity proposal, would have allowed the city to sell the land around the stadium to a private development group (which SDSU was a part of at one time prior to launching a competing bid). Those plans would have called for a much more MLS-centric development of the area while the Aztecs would then be able to lease the venue to play football games. Just 30% of voters said yes to Measure E but it sounds as though the school will just turn the tables and allow their potential stadium to house a soccer franchise instead of the other way around.
“On the athletic side, we will reach out to the MLS, and potentially the (United Soccer League), to talk about potential partnerships that might be available,” athletic director John David Wicker added. “We’re not going to go out and buy a team, but we are looking to engage the MLS and see if they have an ownership group in mind for San Diego.”
Obviously, the approval at the voting box is just the first of many steps for the university and for San Diego itself in getting this project off the ground. There’s still potential legal challenges upcoming and the entire matter of both fundraising and eventually putting shovels in the ground.
San Diego State has a lease agreement with the city that runs through 2020 at SDCCU Stadium but it certainly sounds as though, for the first time in a while, the Aztecs can start dreaming of a day where they will have a brand new place to call home in the near future.