Ball Starts to Roll on Redeveloping Navy’s SPAWAR Property at Midway Planners’ Meeting

by on October 24, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

A huge topic of interest to the community was discussed at the regular meeting of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Board on October 17: it was the beginning of things happening with the massive SPAWAR building on Pacific Highway. The Navy is holding a four hour on-site meeting on November 5 to discuss the future of the facility.

The Navy has issued a Request For Information that can be viewed  here ; (The Solicitation number is N6247318RP211.)

According to the Navy’s spokesperson, the solicitation is to obtain ideas from the development community on what to do with the property.  About a year ago, the Navy came to the Midway meeting and explained that it no longer needed such a large facility and that they were looking at a Public Private Partnership, or PPP, to redevelop the site.

A PPP usually involves giving developers the rights to develop a property in exchange for building something for the public agency.  This is happening downtown right now.  Doug Manchester is redeveloping the property at the foot of Broadway in exchange for providing the Navy a building on that site.

The Navy would like a smaller building on the SPAWAR site and is willing to grant development rights to whoever will provide the building at no cost in exchange for the rest of the property.

It is not clear yet if the Navy plans to relinquish the property or lease it.  The meeting on November 5 will consist of a three hour “briefing” explaining the property and what the Navy is looking for and then a one hour walk through of part of the site. The site covers 70 acres and contains huge buildings where planes were once assembled.  The property is called the Naval Base Point Loma, Old Town Complex and it includes the buildings on Pacific Highway and two large parking lots on Midway across from the old Midway Post Office.  These are not contiguous sites.

The Midway planning board is excited about the prospects of redeveloping this set of old buildings and the normally empty parking lots.  The process to decide what to do will take a long time and public input is being sought all along the way but the ball has started rolling.  Anyone interested in what happens with the property will need to pay attention.

SANDAG’s Regional Plan Update

Also seeking public input now is SANDAG.  Joe La Cava was at the meeting representing SANDAG to explain about the latest effort on SANDAG’s part to formulate a Regional Plan Update.  The last attempt at this went down in flames because it focused too much on automobiles and not enough on alternatives.  La Cava mentioned there is an on-line survey on SANDAG’s website people can use to provide input,  They are also holding public meetings.  Unfortunately, the meeting in the city took place the same evening as the Midway meeting.  The next meeting was in Solana Beach on October 23.

La Cava said SANDAG has extended the input time by six months.  There are three main areas of focus, shared mobility, connected corridors, and policy and possibilities.  La Cava mentioned that SANDAG is de-emphasizing trolleys in favor or Rapid Transit buses with about five to ten new routes.  La Cava did not discuss finances but SANDAG’s last attempt to raise more money with a half-cent sales tax was defeated at the polls.  It is possible SANDAG believes it might do better a second time around if it makes the regional plan more palatable to the public.

Short-Term Vacation Rentals

A few items of interest were mentioned by Bruce Williams representing councilmember Zapf’s office.  One was the issue of short-term vacation rentals that came before the city council on October 22.

Williams also mentioned a public safety committee meeting on October 24 that was held at 9:00am to discuss the scooter situation.  Williams said that Zapf attempted to have the scooters banned from the boardwalk but was not successful.  The mayor’s office is looking for an indemnity for the city in the event of accidents.  There is a suggestion to have sensors on the scooters so they slow automatically if an obstacle is ahead.  A maximum speed of 15 miles per hour is being discussed.  An audience member said that was still too fast as it means a scooter will travel 22 feet in a second.

In other news:

  • During non-agenda public comments, it was noted that the MTS is raising its fares starting last week.  There are public meetings that can be seen here
  • Midway is currently reviewing possible projects in its Impact Fee Study to provide the city with a prioritized list. Anyone wishing to chime in with an opinion can do so by contacting the chair, Cathy Kenton at
  • The November Midway meeting was moved to November 28 in order to avoid having the meet the day before Thanksgiving.

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