San Diego waterfront redesign on verge of approval

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The transformation of San Diego’s Waterfront has been in the works for 30 years and it made a giant leap forward when the Navy gave Developer Doug Manchester the rights to develop 14 acres of the Waterfront in exchange for a new Navy headquarters building.

Ten years and several re-designs later, the $1.2 billion project has only two more hurdles before breaking ground.

The Coastal Commission, the city, environmentalists and several public interest groups have stalled this project over the years, fearing it would wall off Waterfront views and the public’s access to the water.

They wanted a Waterfront park instead.

That’s what the Navy, ie, the federal government wants and they’re on the verge of getting it.

"For the first time there’s a great deal of certainty that it will begin we’re really in the last stages, the developer has passed pretty much its last, almost last stages of both legal and coastal commission hurdles," said Gary London of the London Real Estate Group.

The remaining two hurdles are Civic San Diego’s approval that the project conforms to the city’s mater plan and an appellate court ruling affirming a lower federal court that the project is OK to go.

There was a little push back at Civic San Diego’s real estate committee meeting, likening this project to Rockefeller Center in New York, with its massive skyscrapers.

This is a mixed-use project with hotels, open space, restaurants, retail and office space.

"The big part of the project is the office element which is going to add somewhere in excess of 900 thousand square feet of office space, just at a time when we really need that office space at a really key location," London said.

Much of the tension over this project has been about closing off access to the water.

"I think that this will be a classic coastal development project that will absolutely not wall off the people from the water," London added.

Civic San Diego approval could come in early December, the appeals court could rule at any time.

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