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San Diego Restarts Sports Arena Redevelopment Process With Surplus Land Designation

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Move Comes After State Says City-Owned Property Must Be Offered to Affordable Housing Developers

By Lou Hirsh

CoStar News

September 22, 2021 | 7:10 A.M.

City officials formally restarted the process of redeveloping the aging San Diego Sports Arena by declaring it surplus property, making it available for future development of affordable housing after a state agency scuttled the city’s plans to redevelop the site with Brookfield Properties.

San Diego City Council's 8-0 vote Tuesday gave unconditional surplus status to 48.5 acres of city-owned land at 3500, 3250, 3220 and 3240 Sports Arena Blvd., the site of the 55-year-old arena that city officials were originally planning to redevelop as a $1 billion mixed-use entertainment district with Brookfield.

The developer was chosen by the city last year in a competitive concept proposal process to bring a mix of primarily market-rate apartments, retail, entertainment, office and public spaces to the sports arena site. Brookfield also proposed to refurbish the arena in partnership with Los Angeles-based entertainment venue operator ASM Global.

This week’s council move came after the California Department of Housing and Community Development informed the city in June that it should have first made the arena site available to affordable housing developers under changes made to the state’s Surplus Land Act in 2019.

Those changes stemmed largely from state lawmakers’ efforts to boost California’s supply of affordable housing by making more government-owned land available for construction of apartments and single-family homes.

Brookfield is not precluded from future involvement with Sports Arena planning, but officials said proposals for the site would be vetted first for their potential to bring new workforce-affordable housing to the city’s Midway District neighborhood, about 5 miles north of downtown San Diego.

“We are going to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize the Midway District with housing San Diegans can afford and a true entertainment district anchored by a new arena,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement last month, when the surplus-designation measure was introduced.

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