Corky McMillan Co.s Secure $43 Million for Liberty Station Marketplace

by on October 4, 2013 · 5 comments

in Economy, History, Ocean Beach

Liberty Station aerialWorking on behalf of The Corky McMillin Companies, a major national financial player called HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) was able to secure the amount of $43 Million in financing for the Liberty Station Marketplace.

Everyone on the Peninsula is familiar with the Liberty Station Marketplace – it’s where Trader Joe’s and Vons have markets. It’s also where Rock Church is located. Plus much more.

Folks who love what’s going on at Liberty Station – the former Naval Training Center – like to site all the amenities in the area.   The development has won awards. But it also has controversy.

Liberty Station Marketplace itself is the 152,495-square-foot retail area, is 93% leased – according to a press release from HFF, and besides Vons and Trader Joe’s, has other tenants who include Starbucks, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, Five Guys, Verizon Wireless, Panera Bread, Cold Stone Creamery, Tender Greens and Luna Grill. Wow. A consumer’s paradise.

The Marketplace is all part and parcel of the mixed-use development that was constructed by the city when the NTC was decommissioned by the federal government and simply handed over to the City of San Diego in 1997. It has a total of 361 acres, and – here’s what pros love to cite:  Liberty Station

 “contains 125 acres of parks and open space; shopping villages and restaurants; a 28–acre civic, arts and cultural district; the nine-hole Sail Ho Golf Club; two hotels and six schools.”

Nearly 350 families now reside at the pedestrian-friendly Liberty Station and dozens of companies, with hundreds of employees, are doing business there.”

 Of course, as most of us also know, The Corky McMillin Companies is /was the master plan developer of Liberty Station, property originally constructed for training sailors in 1932.  Here is what HFF says about their client:

The Corky McMillin Companies is a fully-integrated real estate investment, land development and home-building company with more than 50 years of experience in San Diego. The former Naval Training Center was redeveloped by McMillin into its current mixed-use urban village that mixes homes with employment space, education, retail, recreation and entertainment.

The conversion of the NTC to Liberty Station and to Corky McMillin still to this day stands as the largest public land give-away in modern San Diego history. The so-called take-over by McMillian of the land was so scandalous that it marred the administrations of a couple of  mayors.

Corky McMillin originally made his millions – when Corky himself was alive – from being a major developer of Scripps Ranch. He had become one of the most-connected land developers in the area when he was literally handed NTC on a silver platter.  Well, finally, the company’s market center has permanent financing.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Smitty October 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

They turned a beautiful base into a giant strip mall that would be right at home in Orange County, and ruined several historic buildings with their “improvements”. See the marketplace buildings (Buildings 27-30), 3 of the buildings were half-demolished so they could fit the stores in, and in the process, destroyed the beautiful courtyards between the buildings.

Not to mention the sweetheart land-deal McMillin got, and the “lottery” for the new houses that were filled by McMillin’s closest friends.


avatar Smitty October 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

One correction though, the base was originally dedicated in 1923. The buildings of The Marketplace were built in 1932.


avatar Chris October 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

This post is full of innuendo- and not much more. Frank, what is the purpose of the $43 millions dollars in “permanent financing?” What, specifically, are you talking about when you report on “a so-called take-over by McMillian of the land (that was) was so scandalous that it marred the administrations of a couple of mayors?”
What am a missing beyond the assertion that a developer (always assumed to be bad), entered into an agreement with another developer, who MAY invest some money at Liberty Station? What is the controversy you allude to?


avatar Goatskull October 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

Were you here in 1997 when NTC ceased to be NTC? I don’t know all the details but I remember there being TONS of controversy over who was going to take it over. It was on the front page of the UT every day and you couldn’t turn on the local news or KPBS without hearing something about it. I think a lot of San Diegans didn’t really pay much attention to it and at the time I was guilty of that myself, but the controversy was there in plain sight.


avatar Lyle October 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Firstly, thanks Frank for noticing this. I never would have noticed it on my own.

The controversy was indeed significant. Some dedicated activists were involved and tried valiantly to bring a different outcome. I wasn’t personally involved, but I thought San Diego missed an opportunity to do something truly great. But that is all history, not news. The news is that a major financier just put $43 million into the local area. Actual news I’d like to see is (a) What kind of payback are they getting ? (b) What will the money pay for, and how will that affect the OB community ? That kind of investment must have some kind of effect, maybe good, or maybe bad. And lastly (c) What can an average citizen to do about it ?


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