Midway Developer Team Member Changes His Tune About Affordable Housing

by on October 26, 2021 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

In parceling through the different developers’ plans for the Sports Arena redevelopment, a cause for concern is raised when reviewing the writings of one of the developers, a team member of the Midway Village+.

Just a few months ago in the opinion pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Nathan Moeder, a principal of London Moeder Advisors and team member of Midway Villages+, wrote:

“The public is not better served by providing affordable housing at the sports arena site.”

Moeder also said that for the city to focus on affordable housing for the city property at the Arena site “is a fatal flaw and will do more damage than good.”

Moeder went on to state:

For some municipal-owned, smaller infill sites, it might very well be appropriate to include affordable housing and require cities to offer it to affordable developers first.

But for larger properties, it is highly unlikely that an affordable housing developer can deliver the magnitude of amenities and community benefits that would transform the existing community, and catalyze the development of other parcels in the vicinity.

This is where the state of California’s requirement of city property to focus on affordable housing first is a fatal flaw and will do more damage than good.

For strategic signature properties, or anchor sites, such as the sports arena, the regional impacts should trump the temptation to provide affordable housing.

Less than six months later, Moeder and the team at Midway Village+ are bidding for the redevelopment site, pledging all kinds of affordable housing. And the tune has changed.

From their website:

 MIDWAY VILLAGE+ is a new way of planning, a new way of growing, a new way of living. It creates a diverse and inclusive community with affordable homes and walkable amenities for all. Meet tomorrow’s San Diego.

Midway Village+ transforms one of San Diego’s least attractive areas into a new pedestrian VILLAGE anchored by affordable homes, sports and entertainment venues, park space and more.
The centerpiece of Midway Village+ is a new 12-acre Central Park surrounded by a variety of homes, businesses, walking and biking paths, a creek, and more.
More than half the homes are affordable or built for middle-income families. Midway Village+ also includes a new arena, soccer venues, plans for San Diego’s first binational school, and more.

Midway Village+ will stand amongst San Diego’s greatest neighborhoods, promoting health and wellness, sparking economic growth throughout the Midway District, and carving a new path for our city. Midway Village+ is a place for all of us.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

kh October 26, 2021 at 2:22 pm

Probably just a coincidence that his tune changed when the RFP required affordable housing. It’s clear that they will meet the bare minimum or less, as all developers do.

I’ll never understand the concept that building unaffordable housing is good for any neighborhood.


Paul Webb October 26, 2021 at 3:36 pm

I noticed that the Midway Village+ media contact is Tony Manolatos. I’ve excerpted a portion of his Linkedin Bio:

Tony has helped numerous clients achieve their communication goals, including Sempra, Gafcon, California American Water, Community HousingWorks, the Building Industry Association, the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors and the San Diego County Apartment Association. He recently helped Sempra establish the Clear the Air Coalition and served as the group’s spokesman. The group included the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Partnership, and numerous pastors and other community leaders.

Tony has been a senior leader on several successful campaigns, including serving as spokesman for the campaign to elect Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Tony then served on the mayor’s One San Diego Transition Advisory Committee, and as communications strategist for the mayor’s Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group.

An insider’s insider.


Douglas Blackwood October 26, 2021 at 11:53 pm

“The devil’s in the details”. City land is mandated to provide affordable housing: seniors, disabled,low income, etc!


David Malmuth November 3, 2021 at 12:33 pm

As the Project Executive for Midway Village+, I’d like to respond to your story above. Nathan’s comments, made months prior to the reformation of our team, reflect his own views. While we respect his opinion, and value his participation on our team, we disagree; and, our vision for Midway Village+ reflects the strong conviction of our partners that this community should embrace affordable housing and middle-income housing. That is what we’ve committed that over 50% of the housing in the project will be either affordable or available to middle-income residents.


Paul Webb November 3, 2021 at 1:11 pm

I think the take-away message is that peoples’ professional opinions can sometimes change when you put them on the payroll.

No disrespect for Nathan or Gary, but as a consultant you have to represent the opinion of your client. Even if you said the exact opposite six months ago.


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