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Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007 | Politically and philosophically, Congressman Bob Filner and I have very little in common. However, I support his intervention in the secretive, rammed-through development proposal for the Navy Broadway Complex (NBC).
I am neither anti-developer nor anti-Navy. Quite the contrary. But I think the NBC represents a unique situation.
First, I agree that keeping the Navy regional headquarters at the Broadway location is no longer appropriate, both for security reasons and for redevelopment reasons. In this post-9/11 world, it no longer seems prudent to maintain a military installation — office or otherwise — in a busy, populated downtown. There are many locations in San Diego that would be a better fit for a military facility. If the Navy truly believes that the Broadway site is the only acceptable location, then I say only half-jokingly that they should paint a big, red target on the roof of the new headquarters building. That’s the world we live in now.
Additionally, development conditions have changed dramatically in the seven decades since the Broadway location was designated as a military site. The residential, workforce and commercial population in the Broadway and downtown area is enormously higher than it was in the early 1900s. The area where the Navy Complex sits should now be used for park land and civic and commercial development that befits this unique tidelands area.
If the Navy-Manchester development goes up as presently envisioned, that’s it. The opportunity to provide the residents and taxpayers of San Diego with appropriate waterfront amenities will be lost forever.
If it takes Congressional intervention and/or a lawsuit to slow down this redevelopment train, so be it.