CSU board approves SDSU Mission Valley financing plan, environmental analysis

Rendering+of+the+SDSU+Innovation+District+in+Mission+Valley.

Photo courtesy of SDSU

Rendering of the SDSU Innovation District in Mission Valley.

by Jeanette Giovanniello, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s plan for a Mission Valley expansion project progressed again Wednesday after the California State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved the university’s financing plan and environmental analysis.

The vote allows SDSU to move forward with its 135-acre university expansion project once it clears a final hurdle with city leaders — a finalized purchase and sale agreement.

“This day is the culmination of extensive work by SDSU and CSU staff, the City of San Diego and the many supporters of SDSU Mission Valley who recognized this as an invaluable opportunity for SDSU to expand and better serve its academic mission and the community,” SDSU President Adela de la Torre said.

The approved financing plan includes the cost of the property acquisition and the construction of the site’s infrastructure.

At a total cost of $3 billion, the school’s initial investment towards the project is $300 million.

These costs will be paid by short-term financing and revenue bonds issued by the CSU, which would then be repaid by university revenues through public-private partnerships at the Mission Valley site.

The university says the finances will not rely on taxpayer dollars or student tuition fees.

To finalize the purchase and sale agreement, CSU Chancellor Timothy White is set to negotiate a deal with the city of San Diego. The university submitted an increased offer for the SDCCU Stadium site of $87.7 million at a council meeting in November.

City leaders must vote to finalize the agreement before the sale and transfer of the land to the university can proceed.

The board also approved the university’s final Environmental Impact Report that was released earlier this month. The document reviews the development’s short- and long-term effect on air quality, wildlife and other ecological elements, as well as the use of hazardous materials and emissions.

The university’s final EIR calls for sustainable development — with limits placed on the use of natural gas while electrifying buildings and vehicles. The project will include new protected bike lanes on Rio San Diego Drive and additional bike lanes to ensure a continuous bike path exists between the two university campuses.

The report also includes possible traffic solutions around the new development, proposing to reconstruct intersections that surround the site area and upgrade traffic signs and cameras. The university also agreed to build a Fenton Parkway Bridge to increase traffic flow in the surrounding area.

Aside from campus facilities that will support up to 20,000 new students, the Mission Valley site will include student housing, a hotel, a 35,000 seat multi-use stadium and 80 acres of parks and open space. Inside this space will be an expansive 34-acre River Park built by SDSU — to be owned by the city.

“I am confident that the Mission Valley project will prove transformative for SDSU and its students, and I believe the Board’s unanimity reflects the fact that the goals of the project so closely track the broader mission and ideals of the CSU,” the Chair of the Board of Trustees Adam Day said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was also present at the meeting and voiced his support for the university’s expansion plans.

“We are within grasp of a modern multi-use stadium, a world-class river park for all San Diegans to enjoy and a world-class education and research hub to ensure the SDSU legacy lives on for generations to come,” Faulconer said. “Today we take another step toward bringing that vision to life.”

If the school sets the deal with the city, the project is set to break ground early this year, according to the university.

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