Wednesday, August 10, 2022

San Diego pays soccer company $5 million to be evicted from North Park water tower site due to safety concerns

San Diego is paying $5 million to an indoor soccer company that was evicted from the roof of the North Park Reservoir by city officials in 2019 over concerns that the roof was structurally unsound and could collapse.

The payment settles a lawsuit filed by San Diego Indoor Soccer, which said it was forced to abruptly shut down dozens of thriving indoor soccer leagues and to abandon its 1988 takeover of the city-owned venues. Many expensive upgrades.

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San Diego Indoor Soccer said in its lawsuit that it made more than $153,000 a month when the city closed the facility and evicted the company from the site, which is adjacent to the iconic North Park water tower on Howard Avenue south of El. Cajon Avenue.

The payout includes lost income, compensation for upgrades to the 92,500 sq. ft. rooftop site, and property damage – benches, fences, leaf blowers, picnic tables, wireless camera system and other items.

San Diego Indoor Soccer also built offices, constructed stands, maintained an elevator and multiple football fields, and installed scoreboards, turf, energy panels, lighting and fencing.

The city has been charging the company a monthly rent of $5,600, which increases due to inflation.

In October 2019, city officials sent a letter to the San Diego Indoor Soccer Association, saying a recent assessment “shows that the roof system under the football field is in poor condition and does not comply with current California building codes for recreational activities such as football fields.”

The city attached the letter to a structural engineer’s report saying that the use of the roof for movement or similar assembly functions poses an “imminent hazard that could result in the sudden failure of the roof structure.”

Engineers say corrosion and condensation in wet environments are partly responsible for the structural defects. The roof can only support 40 pounds per square foot, he said, well below the 100 pounds per square foot needed for rooftop entertainment.

In a lawsuit filed in 2020, the San Diego indoor soccer team argued that city officials should have known the roof was vulnerable to long-term problems when the lease was signed in 2003.

The argument is based on a statement by the structural engineer that the city’s 1996 repairs uncovered some corrosion and decay problems. City officials never told the company about the 1996 work, so the lease should not have been signed, the lawsuit said.

From 1988 to 2003, the San Diego Indoor Soccer team sublease the property from Folsom’s San Diego Racket Club, which previously operated tennis facilities there. Before that, the roof was a used car yard.

The reservoir and water tower were originally built in 1952. They were officially known as the University Heights Storage and Pumping Station because at the time University Heights was considered to occupy a larger area, including what is now North Park and other nearby communities.

The city council approved the $4.95 million settlement on July 12. High Court Judge Katherine Bacal has scheduled a civil jury trial in the case for February 24.

US News.

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