With an 8-1 vote, the San Diego City Council has given the green light to a $1.5 billion project to develop the Tailgate Park parking lot just east of Petco Park.
The lone dissenting vote came from councilmember Vivian Moreno, who expressed concerns about available affordable housing units connected to the project.
The vote approves the sale of the 5.25 acre parking lot to a Padres development team for $35.1 million.
The plan still potentially faces legal scrutiny based on the Surplus Land Act, which makes affordable housing a priority and would require developers to set aside at least 25% of housing units for low-income families. The proposed project, known as East Village Quarter, currently includes up to 1,800 residential units, with 10% of those designated for low income tenants.
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The project would also include 50,000 square feet of office and retail space, and a public park. It also includes a public parking structure for 1,200 cars, which would more than replace the 1,060 parking spaces at Tailgate Park.
The Padres view the project as part of their commitment to voters, who approved Petco Park and the redevelopment of downtown.
"Well, it's a bit of a sleeping giant, and I think there is a lot of opportunity to really remake East Village as projects come online like ours, and creates just a vibrant space where people can live, work and play," said Padres CEO Erik Greupner.
Not everyone is voicing support for the projects, saying more needs to be done to provide affordable housing.
“We certainly believe that, when public assets are available, that we should maximize the production of affordable housing whenever possible,” said Stephen Russell, CEO and president of the San Diego Housing Federation. "It is the crisis of our times."
While the project was negotiated under the previous city administration, Russell said there should have been a higher standard for the Tailgate Park project.
“I look at it from a moral and ethical issue, that we should obviously take every opportunity to yield the greatest amount of housing possible," Stephens said. "It is a missed opportunity to produce even more housing that is affordable to folks who are working downtown and actually sustaining the economy of the downtown area."