It has long been treated as a foregone conclusion that if San Diego wants to prevent the Chargers from moving to another city -- likely Los Angeles -- the city will have to find a way to pony up money for a new facility to replace 44-year-old Qualcomm Stadium (formerly Jack Murphy Stadium).
But retired architect Jack Carpenter has another idea: He wants to renovate Qualcomm.
"It could be an award-winning building again if they fixed it," Carpenter told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Carpenter and a group of local architects want the city to sell or lease part of the 122-acre stadium parking lot for commercial development that would pay for the modernization of locker rooms and the press box, wider concourses, improved technology and restaurants, lounges and premium seats. They say renovation would cost about $250 million, or one-fourth the cost of a new stadium.
The architects have an uphill battle attracting the support of the team or the city's leadership, however.
"Renovating the stadium is an old idea that was ruled out a long time ago," Darren Pudgil, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, told the newspaper Thursday. "Weâre way past that."
The Chargers have been trying to put together a plan to build a new stadium for the better part of 10 years, with little progress to show for it, and that failure has only increased speculation that the team could eventually leave for Los Angeles, where a new stadium plan has been gaining momentum of late.
Gary Allen, Qualcomm's original design architect, is on board with Carpenter's plan.
"I think it just needs somebody with a lot of money to fix it up," Allen said. "Open pocketbooks do a lot of things for you."