Double Originial Estimate, New Chargers Stadium Cost $800 Million

It seems as though every bit of news concerning the Chargers quest for a new stadium turns into bad news.

The latest is that factors diverse have led the Chargers to concluded that the cost of a new stadium would be in excess of $850 million dollars. This is double the 2002 estimate of about $400 million.

“It was difficult from the very beginning to build a stadium and the related infrastructure with private money, and it's no exaggeration to say it's doubly difficult now,” said Mark Fabiani, the team's general counsel and point man on stadium issues. “But we're not saying it's impossible – if we thought that, we wouldn't keep spending so much money on this.”

So what happened since 2002 to now that would cause such a dramatic change in cost estimations? Well for starters the cost of structural steel has risen dramatically. There is an increase demand for steel world-wide (think rebuilding efforts in the middle east) and in the United States (Hurricane Katrina and a boom in Las Vegas building casinos and homes). Contractors are also in such high demand that they can now basically name their price and have projects bid for their services. And of course, everyone now needs increased insurance in a post-9/11 America, so that is also a big factor.

With the cost of a new stadium now double what it once was expected to be, the Chargers have to look to additional developments, in conjunction with the stadium, to pay for the costs. In Oceanside, the Chargers are exploring an office complex where office buildings can be leased out or sold to companies. Down in Chula Vista, the Chargers would like to build shops and housing in preparation for a new University that is planned there. Either way, the Chargers are undertaking a massive amount of labor and the impact the team will have on the community will be major. Certainly fans want the Chargers to stay in town, but they will have to agree to the Chargers' proposal. I hope the team makes a strong argument to local citizens, not just football fans, as to why building a new stadium and additional development are a good thing for the county.

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July 1, 2007

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