San Diego Padres: PETCO Park as a Catalyst for Urban Redevelopment

By Antonio Davila, George Foster, David Hoyt
2008 | Case No. SPM37
In 1994, John Moores purchased the San Diego Padres baseball team. The team shared Qualcomm Stadium with the San Diego Chargers football team, which was the senior tenant and received a far higher share of stadium revenue than the Padres. As a result, the Padres’ ability to support the payroll needed to field a competitive team was severely limited. The solution was to build a new ballpark for the Padres in a blighted area of downtown San Diego. Redevelopment of the blighted area was integrated into the ballpark construction project, with the Padres owner having the responsibility of being the master developer, and for guaranteeing increased tax revenues from the redevelopment. Typically, sports team owners had sought public funding of their new stadiums, promoting this with the expectation that the new stadium would catalyze other development—an expectation that was often not met. The San Diego Padres ballpark, PETCO Park, was the first integrated sports facility/redevelopment project ever attempted. In the end, the City of San Diego paid $301 million of the $474 million cost for the ballpark. By 2007 (three years after the ballpark opened), redevelopment projects worth approximately $4.25 billion had been completed, were underway, or were planned. Of these, $4 billion was privately funded. The previously blighted area was well on its way to a dramatic redevelopment. While the project turned out to be a huge success for the Padres, the City of San Diego, and the taxpayers of the City, there were, however, many obstacles that had to be overcome, including a 16 month halt in construction. The case describes the project, the role of the Padres, the City of San Diego, and other players.
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