City council approves conceptual purchase agreement for Mission Valley land


Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

by Jadyn Brandt, News Editor

Many members of the San Diego State community have been eagerly awaiting the finalization of the Mission Valley Purchase and Sale Agreement for over a year.

On May 29 the San Diego City Council held a meeting to vote on the sale of 132 acres of land to SDSU for $88.2 million. The university’s development plan for the land includes educational facilities, a river park and more, in addition to the 35,000-seat Aztec Stadium.

The sale was approved unanimously during the city council meeting. 

Cybele Thompson, director of real estate assets for the city, said after the university submitted the Purchase and Sale Agreement to the city on May 5, the City Attorney’s office identified 14 critical issues within the document. In marathon negotiations, the California State University, SDSU and the City of San Diego worked to clarify the terms of the agreement which now includes more than 30 attachments.

John Kratzer, a member of SDSU’s negotiation team and CEO of JMI Realty, said one of the key issues raised by the city was the potential for added liability surrounding city-owned water and sewer facilities. The agreement was updated to ensure that the City of San Diego was protected, and includes addendums specifying that SDSU will acquire the site “as is” and provide multiple compensations to the city.

“We believe we have far exceeded our original offer from last year,” Kratzer said. 

Moving forward from the city council’s vote, Thompson said multiple steps should be taken before the sale is closed. These include finalizing the documents for CSU’s signature, review and approval from the city council via an ordinance including a 30-day referendum period and finally escrow can be initiated. There will also be two city council hearings on June 9 and June 23 so that council members can provide input on the final deal. 

If all goes well, a July closing date is possible, Thompson said. 

Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents District 7 where the stadium will be constructed, said he was “cautiously optimistic”. Sherman said the earlier proposal was too risky for the city but the updated proposal solved many of the major issues.

“Many times I’ve said the best deals are where neither side gets everything they want and I think that’s where we are here today,” he said. “I think most of the major issues have been resolved, at least in concept, to a point that adequately protects the city.”

President Pro Tem Barbra Bry, who represents District 1, said the “winners” of the deal were not the city nor the university, but rather the generations that will come to benefit from the facilities at Mission Valley.  

“Now is the time for our city and SDSU to work together as partners, as two public institutions focused on moving our city forward,” the San Diego mayoral candidate said.

City Council President Georgette Gomez said she is willing and ready to take action on the finalized agreement.

“This project is a generational opportunity that will reshape the landscape of Mission Valley,” Gomez said. “It will add an exciting new chapter to San Diego State University.”

University President Adela de la Torre said she was excited for the next step in the development of the Mission Valley site.

“We have reached a pivotal milestone moment,” de la Torre said. “SDSU Mission Valley will be a true revitalization of public land in all aspects of the plan. We are thrilled to take this critical next step toward closing the sale and creating generational opportunities for all San Diegans.”

SDSU has much to look forward to as the existence of the Mission Valley site becomes more certain. According to a joint press release from both SDSU and the City of San Diego, there is potential for the university to provide educational opportunities for up to 15,000 additional students and expand its economic impact by an estimated $3 billion per year.