Formerly the Sports Arena, Pechanga is a central and key piece in future redevelopment of the entire Midway area, much of which is commercial, industrial and warehouse space.
A month ago, the group that owns the San Diego Gulls minor hockey league team, Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), was selected by the City of San Diego to replace Pechanga Arena’s current operator, Arena Group 2000, as arena manager following a request for proposals (RFP) process.
Noting the Gulls are now entering their fifth season, Savant said the minor league farm club for the NHL Anaheim Ducks has been welcomed with open arms by San Diegans since its return.
“San Diego has supported us since day one,” noted Savant. “We’ve been the number one team in attendance all of the last four years in the AHL averaging 10,000 per night, as well as being the leader in merchandise selling.
“We now have the opportunity to manage operations at the sports arena, with a new lease starting June 1, 2020,” said Savant, pointing out AHL players are “young kids ready to go play in the NHL. We’d like to control our fate as we move forward.”
Savant said the Gulls view the sports arena as a “community asset” available to local groups to use arena schedule permitting.
“The Gulls and our parent organization are the major tenant of the sports arena hosting the most events and generating the most revenue,” Savant said. “We’re looking at a short-term lease until the City decides ultimately what it wants to do with the site.”
A year ago, the City Council unanimously adopted a new Midway community plan update that revitalizes the area by more than doubling the capacity for future housing, providing 30 acres of new parkland and creating a new pathway for pedestrians and cyclists that connects Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.
The Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group area currently has a population of about 5,600 and covers roughly 1,324 acres adjacent to the San Diego River, Interstate 5, two trolley stations and the San Diego International Airport.
Midway’s updated community plan provides a land-use framework allowing for more housing opportunities near transit priority areas encouraging commercial activity. Specifically, the revised community plan would increase housing capacity after years of build-out from 5,040 units in the existing plan to 11,585 units – a 130 percent increase – with 99 percent of those units located in transit-priority areas.
The Midway plan update also calls for: A bay-to-bay multi-use path supporting bicycle and pedestrian travel between Mission Bay and San Diego Bay; 30 acres of new parkland, including two linear parks connected by enhanced streetscapes that complement the multi-use path; a new recreation center to serve future residents; and a vibrant entertainment area incorporating a mix of entertainment, office, retail, housing and park space to potentially be redeveloped with the existing sports arena, with or without a new arena building.