Midway District

Meet ‘Midway Village+,' a Vision for Revitalizing the Sports Arena and Midway District

The group formerly known as MSED has a new plan for renovating Midway District. It's one of two groups competing to renovate the area

Midway Village+

In 2020 the Midway Sport and Entertainment District (MSED) put together a plan for renovating the 48 acres where Pechanga Arena currently sits.

Their idea won the public vote handily but eventually lost out on the opportunity when then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer chose a competing proposal. Now that the area is up for grabs again, the folks with MSED are back, but re-branded as Midway Village+. While they made some tweaks to the idea the bones of the proposal are unchanged.

Midway Village+
Aerial view of Midway Village+ proposal.

"We're keeping the essential elements of the plan from the last time," says David Malmuth, President of David Malmuth Development and one of the driving forces behind this proposal. "A 12-acre park, which becomes a central park for the district; creating a platform for the San Diego sports community. It really is intended to be a place that's uniquely San Diego and all about this extraordinary lifestyle that we have with fitness and wellness and great food and being able to be outdoors."

Midway Village+

Midway Village+ is one of two plans competing to renovate the area. Learn more about their competitors, Brookfield Properties and ASM Global's Discover Midway here.

Main points of the Midway Village+ proposal include a new sports arena, housing, retail elements, a new music and Esports facility, and more parking. Since the finalized version is not due until early December the specific breakdown of each has not been determined.

The lynchpin of the development is a brand new, $400 million sports arena that would be built and completely financed by Oak View Group, the company that just constructed the new home for the NHL's Seattle Kraken and plans to open Coachella Valley Arena in Palm Desert next year. The capacity would be 15,000 with expansion possibilities to 17,500.

Privately financing a nearly half-billion dollar facility without a tent pole tenant like an NBA or NHL franchise can be a risky proposition but Oak View Group feels it has a way to make it profitable.

"They've concluded that having one anchor in the case of the Gulls is perfectly fine in driving 130 to 150 dates (a year) and part of it is their relationship with Live Nation," says Malmuth.

Live Nation is one of the world's largest live entertainment entities, running 40,000 shows a year around the world. They have a deal to put their talent in Oak View-constructed arenas. The Gulls have stated time and again that they would like a new facility but will never leave San Diego to find one. So, odds are they would partner up with either group that wins the ability to update the land.

The NLL's San Diego Seals would also have the option of playing their home games in the new facility (we'll leave the speculation on whether or not Seals owner Joseph Tsai would move his Nets out of Brooklyn to San Diego, or Steve Ballmer would bring the Clippers back, for another day).

Midway Village+

Per the new requirements, Midway Village+ is going to have 25% of the housing units be affordable, and then go a step beyond that.

"Over 50% of the housing in this new iteration of the plan is either affordable housing or built for middle income, which we think is great," says Malmuth.

Bridge Housing and MAAC will handle development of the affordable housing while Waterford Property Company takes care of the middle-income housing. The other 50% will be homes developed by Toll Brothers, who returns from the original proposal.

Midway Village+

A major partner in this group is San Diego Loyal SC. Last year they planned on building a 12,000-15,000 seat modular stadium on the site to serve as a temporary home while they looked for a permanent facility.

In Midway Village+, the + is a new, permanent, 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium for the Loyal to call home. It would be located on an additional 17-acre parcel of land where Phil's BBQ currently sits. The lease on that land is up on January 1, 2029.

"We're going to ask the City for an option so that we can move forward immediately after we can get control of the property so we can build a new soccer-specific stadium so the Loyal can move from the modular stadium to the new stadium and never have to leave the Midway," says Malmuth.

Midway Village+

They've also spoken with San Diego Unified School District about the possibility of including a new school on the site, most likely a K-6 facility. Malmuth says the plan they have right now will continue to evolve as they interact with the community in the coming weeks.

Now, the part everyone wants to know: what's it gonna cost us and, more importantly, what's it gonna cost us?

The overall cost is not yet known but it's going to be in the billions, but the ask on taxpayers is:

"Nothing. The residents of the City are not going to be on the hook for this," says Malmuth. "The premise of this project has always been that the project should come up with the means to pay for itself. So, there's no subsidy that's going to be required to do it."

The working premise is implementing some kind of tax that would only be incurred by people who utilize the area, perhaps something added to dining or hotel room. Midway Village+ is also looking into requesting subsidies, for example some of California's affordable housing and transit incentives, to help finance the project.

Malmuth admits the financing is tricky, but to add something like this to the community is a risk he's excited to take.

"It's going to be a stretch, from the private side and the public side. But, it's worth it. In this case we think the juice is worth the squeeze," says Malmuth. "We think there's such a huge opportunity to transform Midway so it can become a catalyst for a lot of economic development."

They have until December 3 to fine-tune their plan and submit it for consideration.

Learn more about the opposing proposal, Discover Midway, at the link below:

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