San Diego Council Committee to hear pitch for “Midway Rising” Sports Arena redevelopment

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Two city leaders will Thursday present Mayor Todd Gloria’s recommendation for the development project in the Midway neighborhood that includes the Sports Arena area to the City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee.

KUSI’s Ed Lenderman went live in front of the current Sports Arena, soon to be torn down, to update viewers on controversy surrounding the choice of developer for the project.

Gloria has recommended the “Midway Rising” project from the council’s shortlist of three to redevelop the 48.5-acre site in the Midway- Pacific Highway Community.

“I’m excited to announce that I am recommending an exclusive negotiation agreement with Midway Rising to redevelop the Sports Arena property,” Gloria said. “After a transparent process in accordance with state regulations, I am confident Midway Rising will deliver on my vision of creating thousands of new affordable and middle-income homes, good-paying local jobs, and a new world-class arena and entertainment district.

“This project represents big city energy and I look forward to getting this done for the Midway community and our city,” Gloria said.

Last September, the City Council voted unanimously to declare the Sports Arena site as surplus land under the definition spelled out by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The declaration also includes a condition that states the “future development include renovation or replacement of the city’s current sports arena on the property as a regional entertainment venue and operation of that venue for concerts, sports and other events, consistent with similar arenas in large cities in the United States.”

In May of this year, the council then trimmed down a shortlist of five to the current one of three, which includes the Gloria-favored Midway Rising and Midway Village+ and Hometown SD.

Developers had to mark 25% of proposed housing units as affordable and preference was given to developers with the highest number of proposed affordable units and the highest levels of affordability.

Other city leaders are also leaning toward Midway Rising, which is proposing 4,250 new homes — 2,000 affordable, 250 middle-income, and 2,000 market rate; a 450,000 square foot arena with capacity for 14,500-16,500 people; a 200-room hotel and 250,000 square feet of retail and more than 11 acres of park and open space along with a 9.4-acre public plaza.

“After completing the financial and operational due diligence, it was clear that Midway Rising is not only the team providing the highest number of affordable housing units, but  they are also the best partner for the city moving forward,” said Penny Maus, director of the city’s real estate and airport management. “We’d like to acknowledge all the teams that showed interest in the redevelopment of the Sports Arena site and appreciate their commitment to the process and the concepts they brought forward.”

Maus will present the mayor’s recommendation at Thursday’s committee meeting with Jay Goldstone, the city of San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer.

Redevelopment of the Sports Arena site is included as part of Midway- Pacific Highway Community Plan update, which was started in 2010 and serves as a blueprint for the future development of the neighborhood. The plan envisions the Sports Arena Community Village, which would incorporate a mix of entertainment, office, retail, residential, public and park uses.

The item is then expected to be considered at a meeting of the full City Council on Tuesday.

Despite city officials calling this proposed arena “world class,” residents are not buying it. On KUSI’s Mark My Words Podcast, Chris Ello explained that a 14,000 seat arena isn’t a “world class arena,” as it can’t host an NBA or NHL team.

Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics