U-T Editorial Board Warns City Council to Go Slow on Approving Midway Rising

by on September 13, 2022 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By the Editorial Board of the San Diego Union-Tribune / Sept. 9, 2022

Full San Diego City Council approval seems close to certain next week after the council’s Land Use and Housing Committee’s unanimous vote Thursday to back Mayor Todd Gloria’s recommended developer — a team of companies called Midway Rising — for the 48-acre sports arena site in the Midway area.

But instead of the site’s rebirth being cause for celebration, the fast-tracking is cause for concern.

While the developer’s proposal to build a 16,000-seat arena, 250 middle-income units, 2,000 market-rate units, a 200-room hotel, 4,500 parking spaces and 20 acres of plaza and park space seems highly promising, the city’s long history of botched real-estate deals hangs over the approval process.

Some of the mayor’s selling points stand up. Midway Rising proposes building more affordable residential units than rivals HomeTownSD and Midway Village+. And a key regulator says the city’s push to develop the valuable site has comported with state law, unlike an embarrassing previous effort.

But have Gloria and council members really sweated the details in a way that past elected officials plainly did not in many instances, only starting with the disastrous acquisition of the Ash Street office building?

A report by CBS8 suggests not. It detailed how Legends International — one of the partners in Midway Rising — had been unable to follow through after being chosen to build a new arena for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

A report by La Prensa also raised questions about heavy campaign contributions to Gloria from Midway Rising official Brad Termini and his wife, Stefanie.

The potential to add needed housing, a new sports arena and amenities — and become a community jewel — is plain.

But that means it is crucial city leaders get the project right or these votes will hang over the heads and careers of every official who didn’t do their due diligence, as with 101 Ash Street.

The editorial board operates independently from the U-T newsroom but holds itself to similar ethical standards. We base our editorials and endorsements on reporting, interviews and rigorous debate, and strive for accuracy, fairness and civility in our section.

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