ASM Global backs HomeTownSD’s San Diego arena plans

ASM Global has joined forces with HomeTownSD to support the latter’s bid to deliver a new arena and entertainment district in the US city of San Diego.

HomeTownSD is one of three proposals vying to redevelop the Sports Arena site in the Midway District of the city.

In May, San Diego City Council voted to move forward with analysis of proposals from HometownSD, which is led by San Diego-based Monarch Group; Midway Village+, led by Bridge Housing; and Midway Rising, led by Encinitas-based developer Zephyr.

Councilmember Stephen Whitburn said that state housing officials had stressed the city must award the developer that proposes the most low-income affordable housing as part of their project. Midway Rising was said to be the favourite to land the contract because it is proposing 2,000 affordable apartments.

HomeTownSD hopes the addition of ASM Global will give its proposal the edge due to the company’s experience of operating hundreds of sports and entertainment venues around the world.

HomeTownSD said that ASM Global would work with HomeTownSD’s lead arena developer, JMI Sports, to deliver a “modern, flexible arena” tailored to the San Diego market. JMI Sports has experience of working on San Diego venues such as Petco Park and Snapdragon Stadium.

ASM Global has operated the existing Sports Arena, also known as the Pechanga Arena, since 2008. HomeTownSD’s vision for the redevelopment of the venue includes a destination neighbourhood with a world-class arena and housing for all.

The proposed arena would host 8,000 to 10,000 fans for hockey and lacrosse events, and 10,000 fans for concerts. The capacity could be expanded to 12,500 for unique indoor/outdoor festival events.

Ron Bension, president and chief executive of ASM Global, said: “We evaluated the three proposals in contention and determined HomeTownSD to be the most visionary and viable arena plan and their team the most capable of delivering.

“It is not easy to finance a world-class arena and ensure its continued operation over the long term. HomeTownSD has crafted a plan that prioritises financial viability as well as market and community fit – all essential to successfully turning arena plans into reality.”

Sarah Kruer-Jager, project lead for HomeTownSD and partner at Monarch Group, added: “There is no better partner than ASM Global to bring to life the entertainment experience and invest in the development of a state-of-the-art arena for San Diego.

“They will create value and drive profitability with best-in-class local operational execution, strong financial capabilities, and a proven commitment to San Diego.”

When voting to move forward with three proposals for the arena project back in May, San Diego City Council opted to drop proposals from Neighborhood Next, which reportedly did not have the necessary experience to develop a new arena; and Brookfield Properties, which did not provide enough housing. ASM Global was previously involved in Brookfield Properties’ plan.

In August 2020, the City of San Diego selected Brookfield and ASM Global to develop a multi-use district anchored by a new sports arena. The project was set to see the existing Sports Arena, which first opened in 1966, replaced by the new venue, accompanied by a mix of entertainment, housing, parks, office space and retail.

However, this project was stopped in its tracks in June last year. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria hit out at the administration led by his predecessor, Kevin Faulconer, after being forced to scrap the plans.

Image: HomeTownSD