Affordable Housing Proponents Pleased With Restart of Sports Arena Redevelopment

by on June 21, 2021 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Andrew Bowen / KPBS / June 18, 2021

San Diego affordable housing advocates are applauding Mayor Todd Gloria’s decision this week to restart the process of redeveloping the Pechanga Arena in the Midway District. Gloria announced that decision Thursday after state officials determined the process initiated by his predecessor, Kevin Faulconer, had violated the state’s Surplus Land Act. That law, amended in 2019, requires cities to give affordable housing developers first right of refusal to build on public land that the government doesn’t need.

Last August Faulconer selected Brookfield Housing and ASM Global to lead redevelopment of the 48 acres that encompass the arena, the surrounding parking lot and several commercial buildings. Another firm, Toll Brothers Housing, also submitted a proposal.

Both plans featured a new entertainment district with housing, commercial space, parkland and a new or renovated arena. Neither plan would likely have been feasible if voters last November had not approved Measure E, which exempted Midway from the city’s strict 30-foot coastal height limit. Restarting the redevelopment process could still result in a similar vision for the property, but the final plan would have to incorporate affordable housing.

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Avatar kh June 21, 2021 at 1:54 pm

Falconer also solicited development bids that were in violation of the the 30-foot height limit at the time.

Proof that the removal of the height limit was a foregone conclusion. The developers and environmentalists have found common interest and are a formidable team. Our city “leaders” are all too willing to bend over backwards to appease them without proper consideration for their actual constituents, the citizens.

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Avatar Tessa June 21, 2021 at 6:40 pm

It would be great to see whatever happens in the Midway District include a majority of affordable housing that people such as teachers, post office workers, and others could actually afford and own. There are basically no such opportunities now in the whole city. Co-op housing would be great! Of course, the infrastructure for a flood of new people living in the Midway District will be problematic. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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Avatar Susan Baldwin July 21, 2021 at 6:21 pm
Avatar Tessa July 21, 2021 at 6:58 pm

Here’s hoping the city takes advice from the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland. These lawyers are masters at figuring out the ins and outs of affordable, owner-occupied, cooperative housing. The properties developed on this Midway location could be taken off the commercial market in some incredibly creative ways.

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