Navy Keeps Identity of 4 Development Teams on Shortlist a Secret in Next Round of Competition for NAVWAR Site

by on April 17, 2023 · 0 comments

in Military, Ocean Beach, San Diego

On April 11, the Navy disclosed that it had chosen four development teams for the next round of real estate competition to redevelop the 70 plus acres of the NAVWAR site in the Midway District. Yet, the Navy would not identify the teams on their shortlist. It is the largest real estate competition in the federal agency’s history.

This secrecy may not sit well with local residents who were clearly rankled by the initial concept drawings offered to the community by the Navy that showed a wall of skyscrapers towering over I-5. The Navy said it received more than 1,000 letters in response to the models presented. Ironically, the Navy says those letters and the “public’s strong reaction as part of the rationale for undertaking the solicitation process prior to finalizing the environment work,” as reported by the Union-Tribune.

Reporter Jennifer van Grove offered more:

The federal government is taking a closed-door approach to the solicitation, citing a need to protect the integrity of the competition and future negotiations. Shortlisted teams were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to receiving round-two data and information on the Navy’s requirements for new facilities.

By contrast, the city of San Diego released both the names of participants as well as redacted proposals early on during its solicitation process for the sports arena property in the Midway District.

The four teams are now supposed to submit more detailed proposals. The U-T:

The bids, which are due by Aug. 9, must include site and design drawings for new government facilities, a demonstration of proposed private development concepts, financial models and a proposed schedule. The process is expected to wrap up toward the end of the year, culminating with the Navy entering into an exclusive negotiation period with the winning bidder. …

The Navy’s land, which falls within the Midway Pacific-Highway Community Plan area, is not subject to local zoning laws or building height restrictions. Although the solicitation encourages proposers to come up with plans that complement surrounding areas, a preliminary environmental analysis, on hold until the Navy selects a winning bidder, studied up to 19.6 million square feet of development spread across 109 buildings as high as 350 feet.

Development teams participating in the NAVWAR competition are likely to propose mixed-use projects with new Navy facilities and a substantial number of residential units alongside hotels, office buildings and retail shops.

Here is a report we published last November:

The Navy is offering the land for “in-kind” consideration, meaning it will exchange the land, in exchange for cash, for new facilities — or 1.43 million square feet of replacement administrative, laboratory and warehouse space, and 3,208 parking spaces – built first and at no cost to the agency. The federal government’s priority is to transfer the asset through a 99-year ground lease, subject to approval by the Secretary of the Navy.

“Potential private redevelopment at (Naval Base Point Loma, Old Town Complex) would bring additional economic benefits to the area by consolidating Navy activities into modern facilities on a smaller footprint, allowing the remaining NBPL OTC to be developed for other productive uses.” The document states.

Naval Base Point Loma, owned by the Navy since the mid-90s, consists of two large parcels on Pacific Highway in the Midway District in the Old Town Complex.

The base is home to the Army’s Naval Information Warfare Systems Command and the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific divisions. The group – a mix of 5,000 full-time and contract cyber security professionals – is spread over 1.68 million square feet of space and works in World War II-era hangars that have been deemed obsolete by the government.

The Navy claims the Cyber Warfare Command contributes $3.5 billion annually to the San Diego economy.

The solicitation encourages proponents to come up with plans that fit the surrounding areas. However, the site may be able to accommodate:

    • thousands of homes,
    • provide ample space for large corporations and community shops,
    • and make room for hotels in towers up to 350 feet tall, according to preliminary environmental analysis.
    • The draft plan, released in May of 2021, studies 19.6 million square feet of development spread over 109 buildings.
    • The environmental work is sidelined until the Navy chooses the winning bidder.
    •  the federal agency’s priority is replacement facilities, which must, at a minimum, be valued at the fair market value of the leasehold interest, the document states.

Proposing teams also have some flexibility in how they accommodate facilities requirements, although the Navy said it wants 887,568 square feet of space and 3,208 parking spaces at the NAVWAR site, and another 541,068 square feet for warehouses, labs and Laydown Space Off-site location.

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