SAN DIEGO — In August 2020, then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer stood in the Midway District and declared the city had found its developer to revitalize the neighborhood and build a new sports arena.
Over a year later, development teams are once again vying for the right to reimagine the Midway, after California determined San Diego did not follow state law in its bidding process the first time around.
Now Brookfield Properties, the group that won the original contest, is back — but not with the exact same plans they advertised last time for the 48 acres of city-owned land.
The Brookfield group’s “Discover Midway” vision would add 3,280 homes to the area — some of them designated affordable housing — a vibrant market area, expanded office spaces and several parks, according to the team. Then there’s the new arena, a “reimagined and modernized venue.”
The rental homes included in the pitch would house more than 6,500 residents, according to Brookfield and its partners, and 25 to 32% of the units would be reserved at reduced rates for people who make 60% or less of the area’s median income.
The group’s envisioned retail mercado, featuring “local-centric” shops, food and beverage businesses, also features prominently in the Brookfield plans. Renderings show busy sidewalks with shoppers strolling past outdoor dining areas and fresh food carts.
The new arena will feature modern “San Diego-inspired” architecture with indoor and outdoor connections, an expanded concourse, a variety of new food and drink options and “refreshed” interior amenities. Renderings display a futuristic-looking entrance with a video board.
Other project highlights include 11 acres of parks and other outdoor spaces, and a permanent indoor-outdoor home for the popular Kobey’s Swap Meet. Parking plans consists of garages for visitor parking and residential parking in above-ground structures, according to the team.
As with most of the publicly available information about varying pitches for the area, firm design details and many logistical specifics are not included on the Brookfield website or in their recent news releases. You can read more on the Discover Midway website, which gives an overview of the team’s vision.
Submissions to the city were completed this week and there are now five development groups negotiating for the rights to the land, with affordable housing and a revamped arena featured as pillars of each proposal. Which group can set itself apart in the city’s eyes remains to be seen, and likely lies in the more-detailed plans to come.
Check out renderings from another competitor, “Midway Rising,” and keep an eye out for updates on the negotiations, which may be headed for more turbulence. As the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, a tentative ruling from a San Diego judge last week signaled that Measure E — which removed a key height limit for developing the district — may be invalidated, stalling the process yet again.