Art Olson | Avenida Primavera
It looks like the City of Del Mar has again been blindsided by the 22nd Agricultural District Fair Board’s actions. The Sandpiper has recently discovered that an ongoing, and until now, secret 3-way negotiation has been underway between the Fair Board, the San Diego Chargers, and the Killjoy Development Corporation. In an effort to retain the Chargers locally, and in the absence of support from the city of San Diego, the Chargers management has approached the Fair Board with a proposition to build a new, one of a kind NFL football stadium on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Since the 22nd Ag District is state owned, the development would be paid for with California funds. With the Chargers endorsement of the proposal, Killjoy has presented conceptual plans to the Fair Board for its approval.
Speaking off the record, because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing negotiations, one Charger official described the unique features of the planned stadium, and its relationship to the fairgrounds and the surrounding communities. He emphasized the relatively light footprint that the stadium will have due to the novel design program and the economic analysis that will make it possible. He went on to explain that unlike the trend in other new NFL football stadiums, Del Mar’s Charger Stadium will have a relatively low attendee capacity of around 10,000 spectators. This will be due to the fact that the Stadium will be designed and constructed to maximize the number of private box suites. “In fact,” he said, “it will be almost exclusively private boxes. It definitely pencils out,” he went on, explaining that one private suite, holding 10 or so individuals will bring in more revenue than selling 100 ordinary stadium seats. A demographic analysis of Del Mar and other upscale North County communities predicts an ever-rising demand for private, premium viewing suites. The Chargers figure that by selling season rentals of 100 luxury boxes they will more than break-even.“ After that, all other income streams, such as TV rights, catering, and sports paraphernalia are pure gravy,” he went on.
Killjoy spokeperson, Manny Rhodes, described a conceptual plan that calls for four levels of box suites, both in altitude and attitude. The lowest in cost “aspirational” units, the Bronze suites, will be closest to the field, each with seating for 10-12 guests, and have a self-stocked bar with flat screen TVs. Next will be the “social climber” Silver Suites, with better views of the entire field, and added amenities like a Jacuzzi, and gourmet kitchen facilities. The “Executive” penultimate “Gold Suites” will have ocean views, and include an outdoor fireplace, barbeque and concierge service. Finally the spacious Corporate two storey Penthouse Platinum Suites, will have, in addition, spectacular 360 degree views of the ocean and distant mountains, an outdoor pizza oven, and wine cellar, as well as on-board chef and masseuse. The Chargers are certain that given the trending nature of the Del Mar market, the pricing will be appealing for many in the area.
Killjoy still faces a number of environmental and community hurdles that must be overcome before construction is approved. Parking and traffic concerns are being addressed in the current plans. Since the new stadium will occupy much of the existing fairgrounds parking facilities, new parking will need to incur much farther into the surrounding lagoon and floodplain. Mr. Rhodes described a unique parking system that is being designed. All parking spaces will be supported on pontoons, so that during flooding conditions the parked cars will be floated above the water. Space between the pontoon floats will be reserved for native flora and fauna.
Even though the amount of stadium traffic will be minimized by the exclusitivity of the venue, Rhodes explained that any excess traffic will be handled by a unique state of the art GPS system which will control the network of traffic signals in the surrounding area, so that the VIP box holders can pass through unimpeded. He also explained that Killjoy will mitigate any of Del Mar community concerns regarding the high cost of attending a football game with a stadium consisting of all private suites. “We’ve crunched the numbers and are willing to designate 10% of the stadium capacity as affordable seating, for those that don’t have the means or the wealthy friends to enjoy the game in one of the private suites. We estimate that those seats will sell for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100-$200 each.”
A Charger representative described other community outreach efforts planned to ease the concerns of those near the development. “We are sending out a poll to all of the residents of the neighboring communities to get their opinion of which high-end retailers they would like to see in the subterranean shopping mall that will be constructed underneath the stadium. With everything in place, the Chargers will remain in the area, but will be called the Del Mar Chargers. Plans are to break ground on April 1 2016. Stay tuned. For more information go to: www.Killjoystadium.com/aprlfls.