SAN DIEGO — There are three developers vying for the city’s bid to redevelop the San Diego Sports Arena and Midway District. On Monday, Mayor Todd Gloria gave his recommendation to one developer’s plan, which he says is delivering on his vision.

“I’m excited to announce that I am recommending an exclusive negotiation agreement with Midway Rising to redevelop the Sports Arena property,” Gloria said. “After a transparent process in accordance with state regulations, I am confident Midway Rising will deliver on my vision of creating thousands of new affordable and middle-income homes, good-paying local jobs, and a new world-class arena and entertainment district. This project represents big city energy and I look forward to getting this done for the Midway community and our city.”  

The project includes:

·       A total of 4,250 new homes (2,000 affordable, 250 middle-income, and 2,000 market rate); 

·       A new 450,000 square-foot arena with capacity for 14,500-16,500 people; 

·       A 200-room hotel and 250,000 square feet of retail; and 

·       More than 11 acres of park and open space along with a 9.4-acre public plaza.”

After receiving the mayor’s recommendation Monday, Midway Rising responded in a statement.

“Midway Rising is honored to have been selected by Mayor Todd Gloria and City staff to redevelop the San Diego Sports Arena site. San Diego is coming together behind Midway Rising because of our team’s commitment to delivering 2,000 affordable homes, 8,500 jobs for working families, a full-size Sports Arena and a comprehensive community benefits framework for all San Diegans. We look forward to the upcoming City Council hearing and the opportunity to hit the ground running on this once-in-a-generation project to revitalize the Midway neighborhood,” Brad Termini, CEO, Zephyr Partner said in a statement Monday.

San Diego City Council narrowed their options to three developers in May.

HomeTownSD is one of the two developers that did not receive Gloria’s recommendation, but is still in the running to obtain the bid.

“Obviously, we are disappointed – but this process has just begun. We firmly believe that HomeTownSD has the best vision, the strongest team and the most extensive experience. Each of these is necessary to deliver a transformative community for the people of San Diego – and that is the case we will make as the process moves forward,” said Sarah Kruer Jager, Project Lead for HomeTownSD.

Midway Village+ did not want to comment on the mayor’s recommendation Monday.

“I feel like this area kind of looks a little ‘rinky dinky’ right now, so it could use a little polishing, a lit updo,” Esteban Contreras Coronado, a nearby resident said. “I’m excited, I’m over here all the time, its room for more concerts, more revenue in San Diego and it’s exciting for a city to improve and innovate.”

Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, who represents District 2 where the Midway District is, says the redevelopment will help with San Diego’s housing shortage.

“The Midway District Redevelopment Plan will change a blighted area into a beautiful neighborhood, transform the sports arena into a multi-entertainment center for the city, bring much needed housing for San Diegans, and it will create jobs. I look forward to working with community members and residents to make sure the project meets the community’s desires for a beautiful, and improved neighborhood,” Campbell said in a statement Monday.

But, some residents in the area are concerned with the cost of living and how the affordable housing will be able to help.

“I’m not sure about new affordable apartments, unless they are actually affordable to people who need it,” Contreras Coronado said.

Tiffany, who did not want to provider her last name, says she is currently. homeless

“Housing is not affordable and that is my big question, what is going to be affordable housing in San Diego,” she said.

There is also concern with the unhoused in the Midway District and if they will be moved out of the area.

“There should be some very intentional plans to help the folks who call this area home on the sidewalks,” said Michael McConnell, who advocates for those experiencing homelessness.

He said he would like to see the proposal include housing units with supportive services to address the homeless in the area.

“The best solution is to make sure you know who is in this area and there are real solutions provided so they aren’t just moving a few blocks away into someone else’s business or house, but they are actually getting off the street,” McConnell said. “I don’t want to see people pushed in the next closest neighborhood that doesn’t solve anything and we can do better than that.”

Campbell will be part of the council reviewing the Midway District Plan, which is set to be heard at City Council on Sept. 13.

San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer and the director of the City’s Department of Real Estate and Airport Management will present the recommendation to the City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee in a special meeting on Sept. 8.