Efforts to secure support for soccer stadiums in two MLS expansion markets took hits on Monday. Bids in San Diego and Charlotte aren't dead, but council actions confirmed there isn't yet support in
the markets to get these soccer stadium projects over the goal line. SAN DIEGO.
The San Diego city council voted by 5-4 along
party lines to reject a plan to conduct a special election in November 2017. That rendered moot an intended vote on Monday to decide whether to put a tax measure on the ballot to pay to expand the San
Diego Convention Center.
The city council will still vote next week on whether to approve a $4 billion plan to redevelop the area around Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley -- the
"SoccerCity" project that includes a soccer stadium -- or send the plan to voters in 2018. A petition in support of the measure received more than 100,000 signatures from registered voters.
A week earlier, the city council voted 8-1 to eliminate funding for the special election, projected to cost $5 million. Mayor Kevin Faulconer
, who backs the SoccerCity project, put the money
back in the budget to pay for the special election, though the city council might override his modifications on Tuesday.
If FS Investors, which is developing the project and backing the
San Diego expansion bid, has to wait for the next general election in 2018 to take its plan to voters, that won't be until November 2018, perhaps too late for San Diego to be considered for one of the
four expansion spots.
CHARLOTTE. On Monday, Mecklenburg County commissioners voted to defer until August a decision on plans to include funds in the county's
current budget to help pay for the construction of a $175 million soccer stadium at the site of old American Legion Memorial Stadium (Rodney Marsh's stomping grounds with the ASL Carolina
Lightnin') in the Elizabeth section of Charlotte.
The plan as proposed by Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports: He would pay for half the cost of the 20,000-seat stadium and
Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte would pay for the other half.
In January, Mecklenburg County commissioners voted, 5-3, in favor of a preliminary plan to contribute the
county's $43.75 million share toward the stadium and front most of Smith’s half (repayable in lease payments over 25 years), but Charlotte's city council threw a monkey wrench into the deal when
it canceled plans for a vote, insisting it would not be rushed into making a commitment.
Mecklenburg County commissioners have now signaled they'll pull out if the Charlotte city council
doesn't step forward this summer.
Like with the cost of a special ballot, there are plenty of other things Mecklenburg County commissioners could pay for.