Does Gloria Prefer a New Arena Over Affordable Housing for the Midway Redevelopment?

by on April 15, 2022 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Is this the future of the Sports Arena redevelopment? “Vision” from Midway Rising, Mayor Gloria’s preferred bidder.

A brand new city staff report just released prioritizes the five bids for the Sports Arena-Midway redevelopment and recommends the promotion of one of them to center stage, keeping two other bidders in the wings, and throwing out the other two.

The report, released Tuesday, April 12, demonstrates how Mayor Gloria, in picking his priorities, appears to be favoring a new arena over affordable housing as the key element of the redevelopment.

City staff – who of course report to Gloria and follow his directives – have declared they believe Midway Rising, the team led by the housing developer Zephyr, should be given top priority and center stage. Two other redevelopment teams, Hometown SD and Midway Village+ should be kept in the wings, “In order to have options for the City as we move through further negotiations,” the report states.

The two teams city staff want to cut out of the running are Neighborhood Next led by the ConAm Group and Discover Midway, the team led by Brookfield Properties. (See here for a brief summary of each bid.)

Now, the city council does not have to follow staff’s recommendations and could totally reverse the priority bids or come up with their own list.

Scott Lewis, at Voice of San Diego, looked into this issue and found that Neighborhood Next “had the most housing, and more affordable housing than Midway Village+,” but was nixed by the director of real estate assets for the city, Penny Maus, who believed “the team didn’t have a viable plan to build a new arena.” She wrote the staff report.

Unfortunately for Discover Midway, the team led by Brookfield Properties, it had only pledged to revitalize the existing arena. But the top three teams, as Maus sees it, have all pledged in their bids to build an entirely new arena. Maus works for Gloria.

Both Neighborhood Next and Discover Midway pledged a higher average percentage of affordability below 80% of average medium income than the three top contenders. 53% and 56% respectively, compared to the 40% pledged by Midway Rising, on center stage, and the two in the wings who each promised 48%.

As Lewis surmises, “The staff recommendation shows how much Mayor Todd Gloria is prioritizing a new arena on the land, at least in the case of one of the bidders, over affordable housing.”

Lewis points out:

Brookfield’s omission from city staff’s finalists was particularly striking. The firm’s proposal two years ago had gotten the city’s blessing and it helped finance the campaign for Measure E to lift the height limit in the area to make all of this possible. But the state said the city had run afoul of the law that requires cities to make affordable housing the top priority for new developments on public land cities decide they don’t need any longer.

Yet, the council could still keep a tie to Brookfield in their final decision. Also, Lewis reminds us:

None of these projects work unless voters approve a measure like (Measure E) again – even a new arena with the same height as the current one would not be allowed to be built.

Here are two interesting graphs made by city staff on the housing numbers of the different bids and what they pledge regarding an arena. They’re right out of the new city report.

So the answer to the question featured in the headline is that, clearly shown in these graphs, the winning bidders are those who pledged the least affordable housing and the most in creating a new arena. This is Mayor Gloria’s priority for the redevelopment.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

laplayaheritage April 15, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Agree with Average Percentages of Affordability below 80% AMI, but not with Total Number of Units Below 80% AMI.

Not sure if the number of total housing units are correct, but according to the math Midway Rising will be much denser and create more affordable housing than all others.

Midway Rising (40%)= 5,000 Total Units with 2,000 Units below 80% AMI.


Neighborhood Next (53%) = 3,113 Units with 1,650 Units below 80% AMI.


Zach April 16, 2022 at 8:24 pm

Neighborhood Next has 5750 homes. The most by a wide margin.
It also has the most middle income homes. And the 2nd most affordable homes.

This graphic shows the teams more accurately


Paul Webb April 15, 2022 at 2:41 pm

According to the housing commission the biggest deficits in the housing inventory are in the very lowest income levels (less than 30% of AMI) and the next category (less than 50% of AMI). While Midway Village+ does not offer as many units total in the less than 30% range, they are the only bidder to address the housing needs of the less than 15% of AMI citizens. I think this should be taken into account, i.e., housing for our poorest neighbors.


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