Stadium Improvements Expected

By Lynne Carrier,
March 6, 1995

San Diego officials are expected to announce today that they have reached a tentative agreement that will extend the San Diego Chargers lease at the San Diego Stadium to the year 2020.

Negotiations have been under way for months, winding down as the Chargers football team sparked communitywide euphoria with a winning season and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Terms of the agreement must still be approved by the San Diego Stadium Authority Board.

Lee Stein, the boards chairman, said a meeting will be held Thursday at 8 a.m. to review the tentative lease provisions. “I think Susan Golding and Jack McGrory did a very good job on this”, said Stein, who praised the mayor and city manager for playing a leadership role in the negotiations.
Meanwhile, he said the lease worked out with Chargers still needs careful consideration be. cause the tentative terms call for “a significant amount of improvements to the stadium.”

He would not disclose the amount, although sources close to the negotiations said the agreement calls for about $60 million in physical improvements to the stadium, including new seating and television equipment.

Golding scheduled a press conference for today to announce the agreement. Among othg who will attend are Chargers owner Alex Spanos, Chargers Prebadent Dean Spanos, Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard, City Manager Jack McGrory, San Diego Sports Council President Ron Fowler and members of the City Council.

Besides pushing for the long-term lease, Stein also spearheaded the move to refinance the stadium to reduce the debt and take advantage of lower interest rates.

Under his chairmanship, an innovative refinancing plan was adopted that split the stadium property, allowing the city to own the stadium portion of the property — valued at $130 million — free and clear.
Only about $8 million is owed on the other portion of the stadium property, mostly the parking lot along Friars Road.

Stein said that amount will be paid off in full in 1998. Stein has advocated long-term leases with both the Chargers and the Padres baseball team since he took over as chairman last year.

While his goal for the Chargers appears within reach, any renegotiation of the Padres stadium lease is still in the future. Stein said, however, that the Padres change of ownership could provide an opportunity.

In another stadium-related development, the Chargers unexpected playoff game and the booking of the Billy Joel/Elton John concert offset the financial loss resulting from the strike-shortened baseball season, according to a report from Deputy City Manager Bruce A. Herring. He said the 24 canceled Padres games caused a net loss of $358,000.

Herring warned that if the season is delayed or substitute players are used to play exhibition games, the net revenue loss is estimated at up to $30,000 per game.

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