Navy Seeks San Diego's Input on Proposals for Old Town Site

Some proposals on the table include a centralized transit center for San Diego

NBC Universal, Inc.

The U.S. Navy wants your opinion.

The Navy is currently weighing five proposals to redevelop a 70-acre chunk of land that sits in the Old Town and Midway area of San Diego. The property is currently dominated by the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. NAVWAR for short.

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement outlining and describing each of the proposals has been posted online for San Diegans to review and submit comments.

“I’m really excited. This is an incredible opportunity,” exclaimed Capt. Kenneth Franklin, Naval Base Point Loma Commanding Officer. “It’s exciting for the Navy and it’s exciting for the City of San Diego.”

NAVWAR Revitalization Project Manager Greg Geisen said they have five concepts that share some common improvements. They also have a sixth option where the U.S. Navy does nothing with the property. He admitted the Navy is leaning towards its 4th option.

“The alternative number four has a high-density mixed-use public/private partnership. It has a NAVWAR facility and it has the option for a transit center,” said Geisen.

That transit center is high on the wish list for the San Diego Association of Governments. SANDAG has expressed interest in building a centralized transit hub that could unite trains, trolleys, and buses with the nearby San Diego International Airport.

Two of the Navy’s concepts include the transit center. All of their ideas include a variety of mixed-use towers that could greatly change the landscape and horizon in the Old Town and Midway area.

All five ideas include a new complex for NAVWAR.

“NAVWAR’s primary mission is kind of your cyber-geeks for the US Navy,” said Geisen. “The equipment that we provide and the networks that we provide are the line of defense for the U.S. Navy.”

Unfortunately, NAVWAR is operating inside an 80-year-old building that was built during World War II to construct bombers.

“We spent the last two years analyzing all the possible impacts and alternatives that we’ve outlined to let the people of San Diego now comment on that and tell us what do they think about our analysis and what do they like or dislike about the report,” said Geisen.

He said the public has 60 days to weigh-in on each plan.

“We want to hear what the public has to say,” Capt. Franklin said reassuringly. “This is an incredible opportunity for the Navy and the community to work together.”

Geisen said if all goes smoothly, the U.S. Navy may choose a redevelopment plan by the end of the year.

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