SDSU and city of San Diego announce Mission Valley project negotiating teams


Courtesy of San Diego State

Official rendering of San Diego State’s plans for the SDCCU Stadium site.

by Bella Ross, News Editor

San Diego State and the city of San Diego are now one step further in the sale process of the SDCCU stadium site after both parties declared their negotiation teams in a March 1 press release.

The negotiations will pave the way for the sale and development of the site to SDSU following the passage of Measure G last November. The initiative called for the construction of a 35,000-seat stadium, a river park and the expansion of SDSU’s campus with university facilities and housing.

Through a joint announcement between SDSU and the city, President Adela de la Torre announced a team largely consisting of university administrators and outside consultants.

The names include Sheppard Mullin real estate attorney Jennifer Chavez, Sheppard Mullin real estate attorney Domenic Drago, SDSU Business and Financial Affairs Assistant Vice President Gina Jacobs, CEQA attorney from Gatzke Dillon & Ballance Aarti Kewalramani, JMI Realty Chief Executive Officer John Kratzer, SDSU Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs and Chief Financial Officer Tom McCarron and retired SDSU President and former Chief Financial Officer Sally Roush.

The press release said JMI Realty is not involved in the development of the property as it is serving as a consultant to the university.

De la Torre said she believes this team will accurately represent the needs of San Diegans regarding this project.

“I am proud of the team we have assembled to represent the university in these important negotiations which will result in a project that will have long-term benefits for our public university, our students and the San Diego region,” de la Torre said in the announcement. “Each team member brings to the table knowledge and expertise that will be critical to the success of these discussions. I am confident they will ensure this process proceeds in a way that is fair and equitable to both the university and San Diego residents.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the names of those on the negotiating team for the City, which the press release said will be led by the Real Estate Assets and Planning departments.

The staff members who will represent the City in their negotiations will SDSU include team co-lead and Real Estate Assets Director Cybele Thompson, team co-lead and Planning Director
Mike Hansen, Chief Operating Officer Kris Michell, Assistant Chief Operating Officer Ronald Villa, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Smart and Sustainable Communities Erik Caldwell, Planning Deputy Director Alyssa Muto, Public Utilities Department Assistant Director John Helminski, Transportation and Storm Water Senior Civil Engineer Sean Torres and Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Andy Field.

According to the announcement, this team will be advised by City Attorney Mara Elliott, Assistant City Attorney Sanna Singer, Senior Chief Deputy City Attorney Kevin Reisch and Deputy City Attorney Melissa Ables.

For additional guidance in the negotiations, the announcement said the city is will seek to approve real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc. through the city Council’s Budget Committee.

“JLL was selected through a competitive bidding process after demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the project and experience with the City as well as expertise working on large and high-profile projects,” the announcement said. “JLL will be paid hourly in a total amount not to exceed $500,000.”

As the negotiations near, the involved parties will be entering into an agreement to provide guidelines for how the process will look.

“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,” the press release said. “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.”

Faulconer said he hopes the negotiations will result in a product that fulfills the needs of both the university and the larger San Diego community.

“Before us is a golden opportunity to turn the city’s most underutilized piece of real estate into something special that will benefit the entire San Diego region,” Faulconer said in a press release. “A chance to expand educational opportunities in our region, teach the students who will fuel our economic growth, build housing for those in need, and create San Diego’s next great public space with a world-class river park. We will negotiate an agreement with SDSU that respects taxpayers, fulfills the will of the voters and allows for the university’s future growth.”

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