In February, the City of San Diego asked for bids to redevelop 48 acres of land in the Midway District, including the 54-year-old Pechanga Arena. In July, they announced two finalists.
On Saturday morning, the city announced that we have our winner.
The city's selection committee chose Brookfield Properties and ASM Global to take on the project that's expected to top $1 billion.
Brookfield and ASM narrowly beat out the plan submitted by Midway Sports And Entertainment District (MSED), which included local developers, JMI Sports and San Diego Loyal SC.
"Our collective goal is to pursue a brand new sports arena that is surrounded by a thriving community that will be second to none," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "ASM and Brookfield's international reputation truly precedes them and I am confident they are the right choice to breathe new life into this very important place."
The group developed and operate venues like Staples Center in Los Angeles and The O2 in London. ASM Global is the venue management company that currently operates Pechanga Arena San Diego.
During the process, public comments were shared on both plans. Mayor Faulconer said two main things kept coming up.
"Our public and our community want significant park space, especially now when having a place to get outdoors and exercise is critical," says Faulconer. "And, of course, the public wants a new sports arena, a place for concerts, entertainment and great sports like the Gulls and the Seals."
In their initial proposals, the Brookfield/ASM Global plan called for limited updates to Pechanga Arena while the MSED plan earmarked $125 million for a renovation. As they heard the public feedback both groups changed gears and added the possibility for either more extensive renovations or a brand new sports and entertainment venue.
"Brookfield and ASM Global have a long history here in San Diego and we're looking forward to delivering a place that's recognized globally, that's discussed nationally and enjoyed every day by San Diegans," says Zach Adams, Brookfield Vice President.
Other parts of the winning bid include a 5-acre park and public recreation space with links to local beaches and neighborhoods, at least 2,100 residential units, nearly 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and the addition of 1,800-2,100 parking spaces for residential/mixed use and 3,000-5,400 spaces for commercial/arena use.
The MSED plan that was not chosen did include the Loyal SC building of a 12,000-15,000 seat modular stadium on the site. With that no longer possible, the USL Championship club will continue to look for places to play as they quickly outgrow 6,100 seat Torero Stadium.
“Beginning today, we’re doubling down on our efforts to ensure our club’s goals and objectives are met and we will come up with an even better stadium solution for our growing fanbase," said SD Loyal president Warren Smith. "This club is and will continue to be a pillar in our community and the excitement from our fans give us the strength to push forward in making San Diego an even better place to live, work and play. 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."
There is still plenty of work to be done before Brookfield/ASM Global can put shovels in the ground. The winning bidders have earned the right to redevelop the land but must now enter negotiations with the City, a process that will likely continue into November when the new Mayor is in office.
The plan may never even get off the ground if one other major hurdle is not overcome. The 30-foot height limit on buildings in the Midway District will have to go. That decision is in the hands of voters. Measure D, which would eliminate the height limit, is on the November ballot.