S.D. mayor seeks NFL's help to keep Chargers as Carson plan advances

CARSON, Calif. -- San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made good on his promise, providing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with an update on the San Diego Chargers' stadium situation by phone Monday.

But it could be too little, too late for Faulconer, as city leaders held a town hall meeting to update local residents on the progress being made on a proposed stadium that the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders would share in Carson, a suburb of Los Angeles.

About 400 people attended the stadium update in Carson, including several Raiders fans clad in black and silver, chanting, "L.A. Raiders!" and "Bring them back!" in a gathering that resembled a pep rally more than a town hall meeting.

The crowd also included a smattering of Chargers fans voicing their displeasure with the team potentially relocating from San Diego to the Los Angeles area.

The Chargers and Raiders plan to build a $1.7 billion facility on 168 acres near Interstate 405 in Carson. The deed for 157 acres of that property was recently transferred from Carson Marketplace, which planned to build a mixed-use development on the site, to the Carson Reclamation Joint Powers Authority, which will lease the land to a stadium authority. That group will then rent the facility to the Chargers and the Raiders.

Carson authorized $50 million in bonds and another $30 million in trust to finish the cleanup of the former landfill. Most of those funds will be made available once the design for the stadium is complete, said Chargers land-use attorney George Mihlsten.

California's Department of Toxic Substances Control consented to the land transfer.

"To think that we're at the cusp of a brand-new football stadium to be constructed on a piece of land that's been vacant for 50 years is very exciting," Carson Mayor Al Robles said.

The financing plan for the Carson project will be similar to the San Francisco 49ers' $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium, which Goldman Sachs helped finance. The Chargers' and Raiders' partnership on the project doubles the potential revenues, making it more palatable to finance.

The stadium authority would pay off the loans through naming rights and the selling of personal seat licenses. The Raiders and Chargers would be on the hook for the loans.

"There's no question that Goldman Sachs has confidence in the market, and the market will be great in terms of PSLs, naming rights and other sponsorships that will make this stadium financing successful," Mihlsten said.

According to a financial analysis conducted by AECOM Technical Services Inc, the stadium project would generate $223 million in rent and taxes for the city over 40 years with two occupants. The financial consulting firm was hired by Carson.

"The city has absolutely no risk," Robles said. "The city is not guaranteeing anything. Zero public money is coming from the city's general fund -- absolutely nothing."

According to Faulconer's spokesperson, Matt Awbrey, the mayor spoke for 45 minutes with Goodell about the city's work on the stadium issue, expressing his desire to broker a fair plan that meets the needs of the community and the team. The two agreed that the city-county negotiating team will communicate ahead of the NFL owners meeting scheduled for Aug. 11 in Chicago to address the league's relocation effort in Los Angeles.

Also, the chief negotiator for the city and the county, Christopher Melvin, will meet in new New York City with Eric Grubman, point person on the relocation to Los Angeles issue for the NFL, on Tuesday.

Melvin will provide an update on San Diego's environmental analysis for a new stadium. Last week, the Chargers rejected the notion that a citywide vote proposed for Dec. 15 would comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

"The city has not yet presented a game plan to deal with the California Environmental Quality Act that would get this done before the end of the year," Mihlsten said.