Navy eyes major development with 10K housing units, hotels on NAVWAR site

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SAN DIEGO — The Navy has identified their favored plan for redeveloping the NAVWAR site along Interstate 5: a massive project that would build 10,000 homes, two hotels, office space and retail in addition to new military facilities.

The 70-acre complex has been a familiar site for those driving toward Old Town for decades, but the Navy has deemed the World War II-era hangars an obsolete and at-times cumbersome home for the cybersecurity professionals who now work there.

“These things were built in the 1940s to assemble B-24 bombers. So in many cases, you’ve got a building within a building, because the building itself does not lend itself well to the mission that NAVWAR has,” Capt. Kenneth Franklin, who is the Commanding Officer of Naval Base Point Loma, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Navy has been studying alternative developments for the site for several years, and officially started a public review process for their options on Friday. In presenting five different plans for the reimagined site, officials identified one of the boldest designs as their “preferred alternative.”

If their favored vision comes true, the Navy would get their new cybersecurity facilities, but also team with private developers to create a sprawling space that covered 19.6 million square feet: home to 109 buildings, a transit center and two parking structures, built in stages over a 30-year period.

It would include 10,000 residential units, two hotels with 450 rooms between them and more than 430,000 square feet of office space in buildings as high as 350 feet.

Renderings show that the space would utilize the kind of high-density buildings and public transportation options favored by the county for future developments. The Navy has emphasized that the mock-ups do not represent the actual designs of the multi-story structures, but are intended to show their impact on sightlines around the area.

It appears that impact would be significant.

“Visual simulations, pairing real-world photography with modeled building heights, suggest a wall of high-rises along Interstate 5 that would not only block drivers’ scenic views of Point Loma and beyond, but tower over Old Town and interfere with sunsets from Mission Hills,” the U-T’s Jennifer Van Grove reports.

“The plan is estimated to block 44 percent of views of the Point Loma Hillside, 36 percent of views of the southwest Pacific Ocean and 12 percent of views of the downtown skyline.”

Less ambitious alternatives would have fewer impacts on the surrounding area, including a plan that would only redevelop the space as it serves the Navy. Officials say they have not settled on their final plans and will take public input while also publishing further reports.

You can review the plans, sign up for the project’s mailing list and attend virtual public meetings by visiting the Navy’s website for the development if you want to get involved.

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