Midway Village+ upgrades vision for San Diego sports complex

The second team involved in the process to redevelop the Pechanga Arena site in San Diego, California has unveiled revised plans for the property, featuring a mixed-use vision consisting of two arenas and a soccer stadium.

The ‘Midway Village+’ team is led by housing developers Bridge Housing and Toll Brothers and includes architectural firm Populous, venue developer Oak View Group (OVG) and entertainment group Live Nation, along with other national and local partners.

Midway Village+ seeks to transform one of San Diego’s least attractive areas into a new pedestrian village anchored by affordable homes, sports and entertainment venues, park space and more. The centrepiece of Midway Village+ is a new 12-acre Central Park surrounded by a variety of homes, businesses, walking and biking paths, and a creek.

The emergence of Midway Village+ comes after ASM Global was last week named among the companies involved in a fresh bid to develop a new facility on the site currently occupied by Pechanga Arena.

ASM Global was joined by Affirmed Housing, Brookfield Properties and National CORE on the Discover Midway proposal, which signalled its intention to redevelop the 48-acre property with a “fresh, community-crafted approach”.

Discover Midway shared its plans following the release of the City of San Diego’s Notice of Availability for the sports arena site. The group envisions a “reimagined or brand-new” sports arena forming part of a mixed-use development that also includes housing, office, retail, parks and green spaces.

A previously approved proposal from ASM Global and Brookfield Properties centred on a new arena, 2,100 housing units, an entertainment district and retail space, but this was rejected last year by the California Department of Housing and Community Development on the grounds that it violated the state’s Surplus Land Act.

In June, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria hit out at the administration led by his predecessor, Kevin Faulconer, after it appeared that plans for the arena would be scrapped. Gloria said at the time he was committed to expeditiously beginning a new bid process for the sports arena site that prioritises affordable housing and complies with state law.

The City of San Diego has now released new redevelopment guidelines, which led to ASM Global revising plans for the arena. The plans outlined by Discover Midway designates at least 25% of the on-site housing as affordable.

The initial proposal from ASM Global and Brookfield Properties was selected ahead of a rival proposal from a development team led by Toll Brothers Housing, which envisioned the development of an amphitheatre, a new stadium for United Soccer League (USL) club San Diego Loyal and a large public park.

Midway Village+ includes a new 15,000-capacity sports and entertainment facility, expandable to 17,500, that will seek to attract professional sports teams, esports events, and leading entertainment events.

It will be designed by Populous, a global architectural design firm, and privately financed and built at a cost of $400m (£290.7m/€343.8m) by OVG. Francesca Bodie, president of business development, at Oak View Group, said: “We’ve built arenas ranging in size from 10,000 to 22,500 seats in all corners of the globe and we’ve long-viewed San Diego as a jewel.

“Our team will work with the community to create a memorable space that reflects the needs of the market, but I can tell you it will be a world-class facility that will draw top concerts, comedians, sports teams, and others.”

A 3,500-seat events centre will also be included that will host concerts, performances, community events and more. However, a key element of the revised scheme is the plans regarding soccer and the Loyal.

Midway Village+ will serve as the new home for the Loyal, with a 15,000-seat modular stadium planned for Phase 1 that intends to activate the site, provide immediate returns for the city and the Midway District, and give the club a new home for up to 10 years.

The Midway Village+ plan extends beyond the 49-acre Sports Arena site and includes the adjacent 17-acre site directly to the northwest. This is where a new privately financed permanent soccer-specific stadium with approximately 20,000 seats and additional housing, including affordable housing, is being proposed. This stadium is the new element of the revised project.

Commenting on the scheme, David Malmuth, president of David Malmuth Development and one of the driving forces behind the proposal, told NBC San Diego: “We’re keeping the essential elements of the plan from the last time.

“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.”

The cost of the project is unknown, but will be in the billions of dollars. Regarding the need for public financing, Malmuth said: “The residents of the City are not going to be on the hook for this. 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.”

Images: MidwayVillage+