Tuesday of this past week, the day after the Chargers fans’ rally at Qualcomm Stadium, the JMI Realty Company presented its downtown plan for a stadium and convention center expansion to the Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group
Prior to the presentation however, Billy Ray Smith and I sat through a two-hour meeting with the top execs at JMI to learn about its game plan.
All cards on the table: JMI owns BCA, which operates The Mighty 1090, and JMI Realty, meaning we are, in business terms, first cousins.
My first question to the JMI guys was, what has taken you so long to call us and ask us to spread the JMI agenda, given you have a plan and we have platform?
The answer was, JMI has a plan for convention center expansion, and if a stadium can work as a dual purpose facility, then that potentially helps JMI, given the amount of construction it has in the works, and the work it has already completed.
Point is, JMI was not pushing for the downtown stadium. It simply had a plan, which may be great or terrible. I am certainly not qualified to know.
What I do know is at the very least, a company with a huge track record of success in developing downtown, has a plan worthy of consideration.
According to JMI, building a stadium and convention center together, would be a partnership between the San Diego Port Commission, the Convention Center, the hoteliers, the Chargers, the NFL, the CityCounty of San Diego, and the taxpayers. All of which would ultimately save the people, the voters, a ton of money.
Not sure the JMI plan is perfect and without its flaws; I will defer to experts.
However, it is a plan, and given the need to expand the convention center, combined with the need for a state of the art entertainment complex, the plan is on the table, and it seems to satisfy the needs of many groups who have self interest in seeing multiple projects come to life.
JMI, admittedly, has a tremendous interest in the success of downtown: it owns hotels, is developing more residential buildings and wants more conventions and visitors to make more money.
Yet, I walked out of that meeting feeling as though there is also a love for San Diego and a desire to help move it in a positive direction. If we could all just come to the table and do what’s best for the greater good, not for individual agendas, we might actually do something big, together.
Let’s start thinking big San Diego!
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