Sports arena to glam up San Diego Midway area


San Diego Midway new arena Image: Brookfield Properties

San Diego (US) Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced recently that real estate company Brookfield Housing and US-based venue and event management company ASM Global have been selected to build an entertainment district in the Midway area that encompasses a new sports arena, thousands of housing units, park space, and retail businesses.

The announcement comes after a selection committee reviewed and scored two responsive bids to a Request for Proposals (RFPs) that was issued in February. Scoring categories consisted of responsiveness, a vetting of financial models, developer experience, development economics and feasibility, and community feedback.

“This project will be so incredible for this City for years to come,” Faulconer said at a news conference recently with other community leaders at the Pechanga Area, the 48-acre site of the 54-year-old sports arena at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd. in the Midway District.

The busy Midway District in San Diego, California, is a shopping hub with fashion chains and big-box retailers at Loma Square plaza and the Sports Arena Shopping Center, plus Kobey’s Swap Meet, a weekend outdoor flea market. Big concerts and minor league sporting events take place at Pechanga Arena, while SOMA San Diego hosts alternative acts. Fast-food spots are scattered around the district, as well as a couple of craft brewery taprooms.

The other development team that lost out to Brookfield Housing was Toll Brothers Housing, which proposed the Midway Sport and Entertainment District (MSED) along with other partners, including the San Diego Loyal Soccer Club – an American professional soccer team based in San Diego, California.

Faulconer informed that the City’s objective is to have the entertainment district include a new arena that would replace the Pechanga Arena.

“The vision for this property is for a world-class arena, park space and amenities. A new arena has always been a priority of mine, and it’s the right time,” the Mayor added.

He continued, “San Diego has assembled an extraordinary team with a proven track record to transform the San Diego Sports Arena. Our collective goal is to pursue a brand new sports arena that is surrounded by a thriving community that is second to none. A redevelopment like this is a once in a generation opportunity, and I’m confident that ASM and Brookfield’s international experience will breathe new life into this area, and create a Sports Arena district that makes San Diego proud.”

The President of the San Diego Loyal soccer team, Warren Smith, sulked over the fact that the MSED proposal, which included plans for a modular soccer stadium, wasn’t selected – “Though the news from the City felt like a punch in the gut, years being married to the sport of soccer has taught me that sometimes you can win on the field and not get the result that matters. I would also like to congratulate the Brookfield-ASM Global team on their winning of the competitive process and wish them success leading to the turnaround of the sports arena property.”

ASM Global operates 325 venues around the world built on the public-private partnerships (PPP) mode much like the deal the City will begin negotiating with the Brookfield-ASM Global developers. A dialogue is expected to begin soon and will continue into early next year, the Mayor further informed.

A measure on the November ballot would lift the City’s 30-feet coastal height limit in the Midway District, which would give the City and the developers more flexibility during negotiations.

The pairing of Brookfield Properties and ASM Global represents a partnership that combines global resources and expertise with more than 40 years of doing business in San Diego. ASM is the operator of Pechanga Arena.

Brookfield and ASM asserted that their vision could generate approximately 3,200 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $300m (£224.9m/€253m).

Zach Adams, Vice-President of Development at Brookfield Properties, stated, “Our team has a long local history in San Diego, and an excellent track record building and managing sports arenas and mixed-use districts around the world. We are excited about leading a collaborative conversation with the community, and we plan to form a community advisory panel to help shape the project and provide ongoing input to our team.”

Chuck Steedman, Executive Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development at ASM Global, added, “Everyone who lives locally has an individual experience at the Sports Arena, making public engagement so important as we craft the future of this site. The future of the Sports Arena site is bright as we are committed to creating a world-class destination by delivering an exceptional mixed-use development and working towards a collective goal of building a new sports arena.”

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