Opinion: Sports Arena’s Midway Rising redevelopment will elevate all of San Diego

Rendering Midway Rising
A rendering of the Midway Rising plan. Courtesy of Safdie Rabines Architects

For decades, the iconic Sports Arena venue in the Midway neighborhood has provided incredible sports and entertainment memories for San Diegans. However, as the arena deteriorated over time, the surrounding Midway community stagnated.

Now, after restarting the site redevelopment process late last year, Mayor Todd Gloria announced his recommendation move forward with one of the three finalist teams — Half way up.

We wholeheartedly support Mayor Gloria’s recommendation for Midway Rising’s vision for the Sports Arena site for three important reasons:

  • affordable housing – Midway Rising will provide 2,000 affordable housing units, which is more than any other competing proposal.
  • A new arena – The Midway Rising proposal calls for a new state-of-the-art 16,000-seat arena.
  • Labor commitment – Midway Rising maintains strong labor agreements that will create thousands of new, well-paying jobs for working families in San Diego.

Consisting of an Affordable Housing Partner Chelsea Investment Companyarena developer Legends and developer at market rate Zephyr PartnersMidway Rising’s proposition is both ambitious in its offerings to support low-income families and is backed by proven, reputable players who have delivered time and time again.

As the largest affordable housing builder based in California and headquartered in San Diego County, Chelsea has developed 73 different affordable communities in the region. Additionally, Chelsea have teamed up with Father Joe’s Villagesa renowned local organization dedicated to ending homelessness, to help create onsite supportive housing for San Diego’s most vulnerable people at the Sports Arena site.

Alongside Legends, the arena developer that delivered SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the Star District in Dallas, and Zephyr, a leading Encinitas-based mixed-use developer, we’re confident that the team’s selection of the Mayor Gloria is the right one for San Diego.

In 2020, the California Department of Housing and Community Development estimated that the first attempt to redevelop the 48.5-acre city-owned parcel by the former mayor’s administration was probably be in violation of the State Surplus Land Act. Since then, Gloria and the city’s director of real estate and airport management, Penny Maus, have been committed to adhering to the Surplus Act, working with the state every step of the way on the site layout. Together, with the consent of the state, they kept that promise.

The city has taken a further step in hiring Jones Lang LaSalle, an independent and reputable third-party real estate expert, to perform additional financial due diligence, carefully evaluating each of the three finalists’ Sports Arena venue proposals and accompanying financial assumptions. Both JLL and the State have endorsed the City’s choice of Midway Rising as the ideal partner to realize their vision for the Midway District while respecting the State’s requirement to give preference to the team offering the more affordable housing.

To support working families in San Diego, Midway Rising has a work agreement in place to prioritize skilled local San Diego workers. Union jobs are essential and provide stable employment, financial security, and a path to the middle class with decent wages and benefits. The redevelopment of the Midway District will provide jobs, training, apprenticeships and access to economic opportunities for all residents of San Diegan.

Midway Rising will be built and operated by unions, with 8,500 jobs to be created and $7 billion in economic benefits for the region. That is why International Union of Workers Local 89 — one of the largest, most diverse and politically active construction unions in the region — launched its full and exclusive support behind the main proposition of Midway Rising.

After months of public hearings, independent analysis and regular state updates, the mayor has acknowledged that Midway Rising’s commitment to providing the most affordable housing and creating good union jobs is unmatched. equal. And only Midway Rising’s full-size, 16,000-seat arena will unleash the enormous potential of the Midway neighborhood with new neighborhood improvements, new businesses and new entertainment options that all of San Diego can enjoy and be proud of. .

We commend Mayor Gloria for leading an open, inclusive, and methodical process in his adherence to state law. And we urge the San Diego City Council to support the mayor’s recommendation at its hearings next month to begin negotiations with Midway Rising to shape a revitalized Midway neighborhood that uplifts not just the surrounding neighborhood, but all of San Diego.

Valentine “Val” R. Macedo is the Commercial Director and Secretary-Treasurer of Labourers’ International Union of North America Local 89representing 4,000 skilled union construction workers and their families in San Diego County. Deacon Jim Vargas is the President and CEO of Father Joe’s VillagesSan Diego’s largest homeless service provider, and is a Deacon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego serving the community of Mary, Star of the Sea in La Jolla.

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