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Questions Arise About Future of San Diego Gulls

San Diego Gulls

Amidst discussion over the future of Valley View Casino Center, there are questions about what will happen in the long run to the San Diego Gulls (AHL). 

The current incarnation of the Gulls have been a success story since beginning play at the Valley View Casino Center in 2015. In addition to partnering with arena manager AEG to complete upgrades, the Gulls have become one of the top draws in the AHL. The team has also built a reputation for offering a strong fan experience. (Our own Jeff Goldberg looked at how the Gulls have built a loyal following in a 2016 story.)

The Gulls are now halfway through their five-year lease for Valley View Casino Center, and there are questions about the arena’s future. Reports indicate that the City of San Diego is working to redevelop the land surrounding the arena, and it has not extended its agreement with AEG that expires in 2020. There has also been occasional discussion of constructing a new San Diego arena to replace Valley View Casino Center, which opened in 1966, but no plans have come to fruition.

When asked recently about what the Gulls will do when their current lease expires, team president Matt Savant seemed to indicate that they are taking a wait-and-see approach. More from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Savant was asked what awaits the Gulls after the lease ends.

“We’re happy with what we have. We’re a tenant here,” he said. “So, in some ways, you have to see what presents itself.”

For its part, AEG has indicated that it would like an extension of five to seven years to manage the current  arena. Of note is that the Valley View Casino Center was built in the years before San Diego voters approved a height restriction on buildings west of Interstate 5, an area that includes the Midway District. That effectively means that voter approval would now be required if an arena that matches or exceeds the height of Valley Casino Center were to be constructed at the same site.

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