At a Sept. 23 special meeting, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group endorsed Brookfield Properties/ASM as the long-term redeveloper of the former Sports Arena site.
On Aug. 29, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that a City selection committee, based on a points system, chose Brookfield Properties and ASM Global to redevelop the Sports Arena property into a vibrant mixed-use destination.
“This is not a regular meeting but one with a single topic: to decide whether the planning board wishes to take action on accepting Brookfield/ASM for the redevelopment of the Sports Arena,” said MPHCPG chair Cathy Kenton. “This is a response to Brookfield having been selected to move forward and begin negotiations with the City (on Sports Arena redevelopment).”
“We’d be appreciative of the support of this group,” said Zach Adams, Brookfield spokesperson. “We look forward to the opportunity to work closely with you over the coming months.”
Brookfield Properties is a global real estate company specializing in the creation of sustainable and authentic development. ASM Global is a venue management and services company at more than 325 venues worldwide, including the Staples Center and Live in Los Angeles.
Brookfield Properties/ASM Global intends to transform the Sports Arena property into a vibrant community with acres of public parks, new homes, office space, and a modern entertainment venue – all part of an activated mixed-use entertainment district. On build-out, their redevelopment vision is to generate approximately 3,200 jobs and have an annual economic impact of more than $300 million.
An MPHCPG group motion was proposed supporting Brookfield/ASM as redevelopers of the “outdated and blighted Sports Arena.”
“Having worked 11 years on the Midway Community Plan Update, the time is now to revitalize Midway,” said Kenton.
During public comment, MPHCPG planners heard testimony from residents who expressed concerns about a lack of infrastructure and open space in the area to support such large-scale redevelopment.
“Park space is extremely important,” said Tom Mullaney of Point Loma, who pointed out park space in Midway is totally lacking. “This Midway location could be a magnet for people from the rest of the City and the region.”
“In the past, we have not had a sports arena parcel representative on our board,” noted planner Kurt Sullivan. “It is critical that we have a decision making representative attend, or preferably be one of our board members, to contribute in a substantive manner to the Sports Arena’s overall redevelopment.”
Sullivan expressed one reservation about the project.
“Brookfield’s proposal is very detailed and far-reaching,” he said. “But the project (concept) has a rather wall-like presence along Sports Arena Boulevard. We need to take care of the maximum ability of people to use it, not just walk by it.”
Planner Judy Holliday asked Adams what the impact would be to their project proposal if Measure E, asking to remove the 30-foot coastal height limit from the Sports Arena and Midway on the Nov. 3 ballot, doesn’t pass.
“Removing the 30-foot height limit is an important piece, and would support the vision in the Midway Community Plan for the broader area,” replied Adams. “It would be important in terms of some of the ideas we’ve brought forward in our (redevelopment) proposal. The key with the additional height is the underlying economics, which would allow for the revitalization of the area and the site. Without it (Measure E), designing the project becomes much more challenging.”
The site at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd. is currently home to the Pechanga Arena San Diego, retail businesses, Kobey’s Swap Meet and a parking lot. The six-parcel site is in the heart of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area. It is the centerpiece of an area that includes a large industrial warehouse district, a commercial strip, and affordable housing expected to add about 10,000 more units over the next 30 years.