Urban Sports: San Diego

December 26, 2007 15 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

San Diego's PETCO Park opened in 2004, creating a tremendous economic impact on San Diego's Downtown Gaslamp district.

It has taken a long time, but Downtown San Diego is a long way from where it was in the late 1970's.  During that time in San Diego and many cities in the US,  downtown was much forgotten.  Over the years, city leaders point to four things that were key in the revitalization of Downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp District (the entertainment core of Downtown San Diego):

1. Horton Plaza - Downtown Mall

2. The San Diego Trolley - Citywide light rail system

3. Convention Center & Expansion - 2.6 million square feet, and over 5,500 hotel rooms adjacent to the center.

4. PETCO Park - Home of the San Diego Padres Baseball Team

PETCO Park opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium which was located in the suburbs of San Diego that is home to the San Diego Chargers football team to this day.  Bucking the trend of suburban baseball stadiums that started in the 1960's and stretched until Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1993, San Diego City Officials wanted to get the Padres back downtown, and in turn, redevelop Downtown San Diego's East Village, a portion of downtown San Diego that was considered one of the most blighted in the downtown area.

A Model of the Park before constructed.  Note the "Park within a Park" just outside of center field.  This is a public park just outside of the stadium open to all.

A model of the East Village area of Downtown San Diego that shows the ballpark's location, as well as the San Diego Convention Center along the riverfront.  By placing the facilities near each other, it allows them to feed off of each other.  The San Diego Trolley Light Rail System runs between the two.

One of the things that makes Petco Park work is the public-private partnership with the parking garage owners.  The team and city worked with Ace Parking to establish set rates for parking on game days in set areas, this way fans know what they are getting into before they reach the stadium

Private Development/Economic Impact

The construction of PETCO Park cost over $450 million, with the San Diego Padres paying $153 million, the City paying $206 million, and the Center City Redevelopment Corporation (San Diego's version of Downtown Vision) ponying up $95 million.  While this seems like a lot, keep in mind that the East Village area has enjoyed over $4 Billion (yes, that's with a "B") worth of new projects in the area.  And unlike Jacksonville, where nobody seems to be able to calculate where exactly their numbers are derived from, San Diego no only can do it, they have a publication called Ballpark Scorecard that shows the details of every new project in the East Village area.  Check out the latest copy here:

Ballpark Scorecard

Construction of sports facilities is expensive.  However, when done right, they can not only provide a first-class facility for the team and the ticketholders, they can provide billions of dollars in economic impact to all of the citizens, many of wich will never attend a game.