Monday, Oct. 16, 2006 | Asked by his colleagues to study whether a professional football stadium would fit on 52 acres of bayfront land without disrupting maritime industry, Port Commissioner Steven Cushman came back with a simple answer last week: Yes.
The port didn't release any formal study, documents, graphs or numbers. Just the text of the commissioner's broad reassurances.
If the idea of actually placing the new stadium alongside National City's bayfront is to survive the next stage, there will have to be a lot more heavy lifting in the coming months. The stadium project, four years in the making, is now projected to be at least a $1 billion development. And, if it is to be done in National City, it will require maneuvering of great deft to overcome the immense logistical and capital challenges presented by a development project that could be spread to three different cites and require the cooperation of a whole host of governmental entities.
Had the port -- owner of 32 of the 52 acres currently being eyed -- said no last week, the National City idea would have died on the spot. Instead, team and city officials got the green-light and began to work in earnest on the load of questions that will determine whether the city's once long-shot bid becomes reality.
As has been the case for previous stadium iterations, the Chargers must find a development partner willing to shoulder the costs and risks of the proposal, which attempts to funnel the proceeds from new, mixed-used development to backfill the costs of what is estimated to be a $600 million home field. That estimate has increased by $200 million since the Chargers first unveiled a stadium proposal in early 2003.
But the costs don't stop at the stadium.