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An old friend called and asked the following question:

“Why are we discussing what we’d like to see on the Navy Broadway Complex site, if the Navy already has a signed development agreement with the city that lets it go ahead and redevelop the site?”

Good question again. The answer is that this isn’t over until it’s over.

There are a still whole lot of unanswered questions about this project proposal which have not been answered.

Questions have been raised about the real cost of constructing a new Navy headquarters building, where the project developer is getting the money to finance this project, who the developer is partnering with on this project, who will really end up building structures on the site if the developer decides to sell off parcels of the site to other developers, and who really has to sign off on this deal in order for it to go forward.

The California Coastal Commission staff has indicated that its 1991 review of the initial project proposal is obsolete and must undergo a new review and approval process, and parties have indicated that any decision by the appointed CCDC board may be subject to appeal to the City Council. So there are a myriad of factors that could very well prevent this proposal from going forward.

And there is growing public demand that this unique site on downtown’s bayfront be set aside for public purposes, not simply to increase the wealth of a private developer by allowing further walling off of our bayfront.

The bottom line is this: The Navy wants a new regional headquarters building, and is willing to sacrifice the Navy Broadway Complex site by letting it be covered in 2/3 million square feet of commercial buildings in order to achieve that goal.

Is that the highest and best use for this site, which provides extraordinary public benefits? Or is there a better way to skin this cat?

Today we’re looking for ideas from voiceofsandiego.org readers on ways we can:

1) resolve the Navy’s need for a new regional headquarters building

while 2) preserving most or all of the NBC site for public purposes, such as a new bayside park to serve downtown residents and visitors, a new bayfront performing arts center or the proposed new main library, for a future city hall, and other potential public uses.

Please send in your ideas and questions and we’ll post them here.

DON WOOD

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