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Super Bowl Property Goes Up for Sale at Chargers’ Former Home Stadium in San Diego

University Auctions Pieces of Arena in Making Way for Mixed-Use Satellite Campus

Piece by piece, the half-century-old stadium that once housed the NFL’s Chargers and hosted three Super Bowls is heading for the auction block, as San Diego State University starts clearing the site for its upcoming $3 billion mixed-use western campus in Mission Valley.

With dismantling underway and a phased demolition over the next several months, the university is selling seats in the stadium to memorabilia seekers at a price of $299 a pair, with proceeds from the sale of its more than 70,000 seats to go toward the university’s project development costs.

The university has also tapped locally based Heritage Global Partners, which mostly handles industrial facilities in transition nationwide, to auction off more than 600 other stadium elements including sectional and parking lot signs, way-finding markers, and facility vehicles such as forklifts and shuttle carts.

A section sign is among more than 600 stadium items to be auctioned off.

With bid prices starting at $25 for most items including more than 500 signs, the planned Dec. 14-16 online auction is anticipated to garner around $200,000 for the university, but with a decades-long nostalgia factor the ultimate haul could go much higher.

A section sign is among more than 600 stadium items to be auctioned off.

“It’s really hard to gauge what the actual reaction will be,” Tim Shaeffer, Heritage Global’s business development director, told CoStar News. “You do have some fans out there who are upset because the Chargers left town" for Los Angeles in 2017.

“But there’s also a lot of nostalgia out there, so you might have somebody who remembers tailgating in the parking lot in section P-3 for 30 years, and they want that P-3 sign,” Shaeffer added.

Former stadium tailgaters may be angling for one of several parking lot signs up for sale.

Local media have speculated that the highest fan interest will go toward stadium section signs carrying the jersey numbers of key players in Chargers history, led by the 55 sported by the late Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau.

Former stadium tailgaters may be angling for one of several parking lot signs up for sale.

The auction kicks off what will be a months-long dismantling of the stadium in San Diego’s Mission Valley neighborhood, which opened in 1967 and closed earlier this year as the university finalized its $88 million purchase of the venue and surrounding 135 acres of land from the city.

The university has begun work on what has been dubbed SDSU West, a satellite campus expected to include classrooms, offices, apartments, hotels and retail being built in phases over the next several years, with plans also calling for numerous open-space and civic venues including a long-sought river park. SDSU will also build a smaller new stadium on the site to house its Aztec football program and other sports and special events, currently targeted for a 2022 opening.

The removal of signs and equipment starts a phased tear-down process for the 53-year-old current stadium, which will be carried out over the next several months.

“We will not be imploding the stadium,” said SDSU spokeswoman La Monica Everett-Haynes, noting that California air quality regulations make the use of explosives in that busy location off Friars Road “very challenging.”

A stadium way-finding map is among several set to be auctioned online.

She said SDSU will still be recycling approximately 85% of the stadium structure debris on site, to be used as fill and to lift the development area above the floodplain.

A stadium way-finding map is among several set to be auctioned online.

The bulk of Heritage Global’s nationwide business entails selling off equipment in industrial facilities that are being demolished or sold off to new owners with no use for the items, but the company has occasionally handled high-profile auctions geared to sports stadiums nearing the end of their life spans.

Those include Candlestick Park, the former home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, and Amway Arena, which once housed the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic.

Shaeffer said at least 400 people had registered for the upcoming San Diego stadium auction as of Nov. 25, double the number from the prior day when the auction was first announced, and the number could ramp up considerably more as the auction date draws closer.

The stadium was known for much its tenure as Qualcomm Stadium under a naming rights deal with the mobile device chipmaker, and most recently named SDCCU Stadium for San Diego County Credit Union.

It has hosted numerous college football bowl games, three Super Bowls and one World Series, as the former home of baseball’s Padres before the 2004 opening of downtown’s Petco Park. It is the nation’s only stadium to host a Super Bowl and a World Series in the same year, 1998.

The venue carries memories not only for NFL fans but also for local university alumni and thousands of others who attended events including more than 50 major rock concerts by bands such as The Rolling Stones, U2 and Coldplay.

Auctioneers are anticipating that nostalgia-filled fans will be joined by numerous practical-minded operators of industrial facilities, seeking bargains on slightly used equipment and vehicles that would normally cost much more on the general market.

“In a grocery warehouse, you could have a forklift running 24 hours a day,” Shaeffer said. “In a stadium, the same type of equipment is going to be used maybe just for changes of sports seasons, or because somebody needed a stage put up or a speaker put in place for a concert.”

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