San Diego Labor Is Split Over Redevelopment Proposals for the Sport Arena Project

by on March 24, 2022 · 5 comments

in Labor, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Neighborhood Next rendering.

HomeTownSD rendering

San Diego labor is divided over which proposed redevelopment for the Sports Arena – Midway area is best. Five developer teams have stepped forward and as we enter the elimination phase, endorsements from groups like unions and labor councils are extremely important.

Yet, only two teams have received laudatory praises from San Diego labor.

The San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, an organization representing 22 local unions and 30,000 construction workers, has endorsed Neighborhood Next. This was just announced Wednesday, March 23.

But the San Diego and Imperial County Labor Council, which represents 136 service-worker unions, or more than 200,000 families, has endorsed Hometown SD.

So, what’s the deal?

In mid-December, 2021, the Rag outlined the proposals from the five surviving redevelopment contenders, and this is what we reported then:

Neighborhood Next pairs ConAm Group with Wakeland and Community Housing Works. They propose to remake the parcels in the style of San Diego’s Little Italy, where a plethora of apartment buildings in a variety of heights and designs give life to a wealth of street-level activity, replete with dining and shopping options, where pedestrians and bicyclists have the right of way. A central path, called the GreenLine Promenade, would extend the length of the project, weaving together a broader network of open spaces and transporting people from the property’s eastern edge to the San Diego River. Altogether, the group is designing a site with 4,800 to 5,400 apartments, up to 300,000 feet square feet of commercial retail and office space, a dedicated community building that could house a school or library, and one or two hotels.

Neighborhood Next’s revised proposal: 1,350 units at 80 percent or less of the AMI; plan calls for a total of 5,400 units. Plus, we reported:

HomeTownSD –  hails from local firms Monarch Group and JMI Sports. Their proposal centers around more than 2,000 deed-restricted apartment homes set aside for low- and middle-income families. It also includes a downsized sports arena that can hold 10,000 people, a 300-key hotel, 300,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space, a 10,000 square-foot child care facility, and 18 acres of green space spread across parks and rooftops.

Their new proposal: 1,726 units at 80 percent or less of the AMI; plan calls for a total of 3,250 units.

The Building and Trades Council also has agreements in place with competing teams Midway Village + and Home-TownSD.

The redevelopment teams will pitch their plans to the city’s Land Use and Housing Committee on April 21 at 1 p.m. The public forum will kickstart a process of elimination.

“The next step will be for staff to bring forward a recommendation (to short-list some of the teams),” said Penny Maus, who runs the city’s Department of Real Estate and Airport Management. “We’ll be taking the recommendation to the Land Use and Housing committee first, getting their feedback before we go to the full council.”

The committee and council have the opportunity to accept, modify or reject staff’s recommendation, she said. The recommendation will become public once staff materials, including redacted versions of the bids, are posted alongside the agenda for the April 21 hearing, likely two weeks in advance of the meeting.

After City Council narrows the field of bidders, staff will engage in a second round of negotiations that will focus on the financial and operational capability of the remaining teams, Maus said. She anticipates recommending a winning bidder by the end of the year.

The Midway planners, officially called the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group, are hosting an Open House for the public to come and learn about the 5 different proposals for the Sports Arena Redevelopment.

The event will be Thursday, March 24, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the EF International Language Campus, 3455 Kenyon St., San Diego, CA 92110.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bearded OBcean March 24, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Do the labor groups have any interest other than the developers will pay prevailing wages and lock in union labor?

I know the community plan update spelled it out to some degree, but adding 3-5000 housing units, with roughly 6-10000 more residents will require a huge infrastructure investment which seems lost in this process. They’ll likely have to build a tunnel to move traffic from Rosecrans to the freeways since the surface streets will be clogged.

Hell, it’s a nightmare as it is, let alone when Rock Church services let out. It would be nice to hear some public commentary on that aspect of the development.


Robert Tripp Jackson March 24, 2022 at 7:40 pm

I concur with Bearded OBcean.

What about the real infrastructure improvements ( not cosmetic) ? With an additional 5000 units going in at River Walk Golf Course will compound issues. The residents will go to the Midway/ Sports Arena area to do their shopping and so on. Our freeway system, that cross that area( I-8-I-5), would need a huge overhaul, with additional lanes, exits and onramps. Consider Sea World, just across the river, too. Have a nice summer day with an event at the Sports Arena, people traveling to Sea World and to the Beaches. You will have 100% gridlock.

For Public Transportation to be affective, it will have to be very central, streamlined and timely ( not take hours). We don’t have anything like the BART in the Bay area. Need safe pedestrian and bike lanes that are accessible. This isn’t even getting into the old utility infrastructure that can’t manage what we have now.

I don’t disagree that the Midway/ Sports Arena area needs a huge makeover . But consider everything else happening around it. We need proper, well thought-out planning , so this doesn’t bite us in the a– in the future.


Carolyn Chase March 25, 2022 at 6:11 pm

How much parkland for each project? It’s sad that the report doesn’t include the amount parkland for each proposal. The summaries are mainly about the building. Please check into it and let us know. The Midway area is extremely deficient in park land. When adding more people, it’s important to have more parks.


Frank Gormlie March 29, 2022 at 9:11 am

More labor endorsements. Last week Discover Midway announced that it has entered into an agreement with Unite Here Local 30, IATSE Local 122, Teamsters Local 481 and SEIU-USWW.

“Discover Midway has the experience and financial capacity to deliver on their commitments and that’s what matters for working families in our communities,” Brigette Browning, president of Unite Here Local 30, said in a statement. “Too often our city, and its private sector partners, have over-promised and under-delivered. The sports arena redevelopment is a generational opportunity and we must get it right. The Discover Midway team will deliver quality jobs, affordable housing and dynamic entertainment for all.”

Browning is a close ally of Jen Campbell.


Frank Gormlie March 29, 2022 at 9:12 am

Most of the redevelopment teams can now point to some form of labor support when they plead their case to council members next month.


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