Midway District

Sports Arena Revitalization: Inside the Competing Plans

Comparing two different visions for the future of the Midway/Sports Arena area

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The City of San Diego issued a Request For Proposals asking for ideas to revitalize 48 acres of land in the Midway/Sports Arena area where Pechanga Arena sits. They received four responses. Two of them will have a chance to take on at least a billion dollar job.

San Diegans have a chance to share their opinions on the matter, even if they can't do it in person. The competing plans have been added to a virtual open house that you can see here (the site will be live until July 20).

“This is an opportunity to redevelop and reshape the Sports Arena area for the next generation, and we want to hear what San Diegans think of the proposals under consideration,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in a statement. “Revitalizing the Sports Arena is key to our future growth as a city and ensures that it remains one of San Diego’s most popular destinations for decades to come.”

The two proposals are called the Brookfield Properties Development (BPD) Concept and the Midway Sports & Entertainment District (MSED) Development Concept. Obviously, they have similarities and differences. Both include a plan to modernize Pechanga Arena San Diego, add a public park and residential and retail space.

Let's look at a few key areas and how each of the proposals plan on approaching them.

NBC 7's Rory Devine breaks down competing plans to revitalize the aging Sports Arena site.
  • The Arena

Both plans have a vision for an updated Sports Arena to house the Gulls, Seals, concerts and other events. BPD does not plan to make major changes, taking more of an updating approach. MSED wants to do an expansive, $125 million update, basically tearing it down to the studs and modernizing it to a 15,000-seat venue, expandable to 17,000 for concerts. MSED would also add technological updates for an eSports tournament layout.

  • Housing

BPD has designs for 1,800-2,100 new housing units, including affordable housing options. MSED wants to build 1,442 housing units, of which at least 10% will be affordable housing.

  • Retail and Office Space

BPD is looking to build between 505,000 and 595,000 square feet of retail and commercial space with no office buildings included. MSED has plans for 133,000 square feet of retail space and retail pavilions with 185,000 feet of office space. Both plans call for residential and retail areas to be integrated throughout the 48-acre site.

  • Parking

BPD’s proposal would add 1,800-2,100 parking spaces for residential/mixed use and 3,000-5,400 for commercial/arena use. MSED would provide 1,800 event parking spots and 1,204 mixed-use parking spaces.

  • Public Park

Both plans would construct a new public park that would be heavily featured in the redevelopment. The BPD plan would make a six-acre park. MSED would build a 12-acre park.

  • Entertainment

BPD’s plan calls for the existing arena to host concerts and sporting events. ASM Global has been running the event booking arm of Pechanga Arena San Diego for almost a decade and would continue doing such. MSED’s plan would also have musical acts in the Sports Arena but also add a 3,500-seat music hall.

  • More New Stuff

MSED’s proposal has a few different additions that are not included in the BPD plan. In addition to the music venue MSED would build a 250-room hotel and a 12,000-15,000 seat modular soccer stadium to house the San Diego Loyal SC for the next seven to 10 years.

  • Cost and Financing

Both proposals would cost more than $1 billion and both say they would not require any public subsidies. Both proposals call for a land lease, not a land purchase, of the 48 acres.

  • “Economic Impact”

This is one quotations because economic impact can be interpreted in multiple different ways. MSED claims its plan will generate 58,000 jobs, $560,000 annually in sales tax revenue, $2.1 million annually in property tax revenue and $2.2 million annually in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue. BPD says it will generate 3,200 annual ongoing jobs, $6.5 million in annual sales tax, $14 million in annual property taxes and $300 million ongoing and annual economic impact for the region.

One other similarity is both plans need to have the existing 30-foot height limit on buildings in the area removed or they can't proceed. A measure to keep or abolish that limit is expected to be placed on the November ballot.

Contact Us