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City of San Diego staff has picked its favorite team to redevelop the Sports Arena site and is asking the City Council to cut two of the five bidders out of the running.
A new report released Tuesday reveals that city staff believes Midway Rising, the team led by the housing developer Zephyr, should be given priority. And two other teams, Hometown SD and Midway Village+ should also be examined “In order to have options for the City as we move through further negotiations,” the report states.
This is just the staff recommendation and the City Council could decide on a different route.
The two bids the staff would like to put in the round file include Neighborhood Next led by the ConAm Group. It had the most housing, and more affordable housing than Midway Village+, but the director of real estate assets for the city, Penny Maus, who wrote the report, said the team didn’t have a viable plan to build a new arena.
The three teams to advance, in fact, under Maus’ preferred scenario all pledge to build an entirely new arena. Discover Midway, the team led by Brookfield Properties, had also only pledged to revitalize the existing arena.
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.
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.
Now Brookfield could be out just like Measure E, which a judge said was illegally placed before voters without sufficient analysis of its impact on community views.
Go deeper: Our latest Politics Report provided more context on where things stand in the wake of a court decision scuttling Measure E, which not only removed the height limit for the Sports Arena land but for the entire Midway community.
None of these projects work unless voters approve a measure like that again – even a new arena with the same height as the current one would not be allowed to be built.
Go even deeper: The mayor’s insistence that the area have a new arena is certainly noteworthy. There’s nothing about the area that makes it a great place for an arena besides the fact that there’s one there now.
Why is there one there now? In some ways, it’s a monument to a decades-long, successful effort to re-segregate the Midway/Point Loma area. If you missed our January story about how the city came to own the land in Midway we’re talking about, catch up here.