This post originally appeared in the Aug. 23 Morning Report. Get our latest stories and roundup of local news in your inbox by subscribing today.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced Monday that he has chosen to recommend the Midway Rising team to redevelop the nearly 50 acres of land the city owns on Sports Arena Boulevard. His recommendation is only that. The City Council is hosting a special meeting of its Land Use and Housing Committee Sept. 8 and the full City Council could consider approving the recommendation or something different the next week. Two other teams – Midway Village + and HometownSD – would not advance if the mayor gets his way.
Has been theirs to lose: Midway Rising got into pole position in this race from the beginning when the team, led by the developer Zephyr and Chelsea Investment Corp., promised to build the most number of homes where rents will be restricted to remain affordable to families with lower incomes. The city staff immediately pushed the Zephyr and Chelsea led team as the preferred option with the other two available only if the numbers didn’t add up.
Because the city must follow the state’s newly modified Surplus Lands Act, it had to prioritize the bidder that could deliver the most affordable housing. But they also prioritized building a new arena and rivals questioned whether Zephyr could deliver the number of affordable units promised. And, if it could deliver those homes without cannibalizing city housing funds that would deliver units elsewhere.
The City Council hired a firm, JLL, to analyze their promises and the mayor’s announcement would indicate JLL signed off on the team’s plans. Though they have not released the analysis and promise to by Aug. 26.
“This project represents big city energy and I look forward to getting this done for the Midway community and our city,” Gloria wrote in a prepared press release.
Notes: Midway Rising promises the largest arena of the three. Also, the plan would be illegal right now. In the 1970s, voters passed a 30-foot height limit on construction west of Interstate 5. Voters approved an exemption in 2020 for the Midway area but a lawsuit successfully threw that out. Now, voters will again consider the issue as Measure C on the November ballot. The mayor and his allies want the development team solidified in September so that it can help fund the campaign to approve Measure C.
San Diego could really use a MTA extension that goes to Lindbergh, Liberty Station and then Sports Arena. Would nice nice to connect all these highly trafficked places.
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