Otay Mesa

Historic Brown Field airport to get an extreme makeover

Brown Field will expand with a 20-year redevelopment plan

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Brown Field became an airport near the U.S.-Mexico border in 1918, just 15 years after the Wright Brothers took to the air. The airport has grown since then, but not like it’s about to.

On Monday, the city of San Diego will break ground on the Brown Field Airport Redevelopment Project.

“It's the beginning of a new aviation era for San Diego,” San Diego Chief of Airports Jorge Rubio said. “We want to see this area boom and everybody have sustainable jobs.”

Rubio said the redevelopment is expected to generate 2,500 jobs and $1.5 billion over the next 50 years for the region.

The four-phase development will introduce a new terminal to Brown Field, as well as a hotel, restaurant, industrial buildings, office space and new hangars. It’s expected to be a boost for Otay Mesa, which already sees roughly $68 billion in trade go through the area every year.

“I think we're going to have a lot of business happening out here,” Rubio said. “Twenty years from now, I don't think we'll be able to recognize Brown Field the way that it is right now.”

Phase I is already under construction near Brown Field’s air traffic control tower.

A number of tenants were evicted from the 880-acre property last month. The city of San Diego said they were subleasing space from a primary lease holder on the property in an area that is expected to be redeveloped as a part of Phase II.

Rubio said the first new buildings on the 331-acre redevelopment site could open as early as next year. The entire project should take roughly 20 years.

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