SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Last November, the sale of Liberty Station was approved and while the City of San Diego still owns the property, the lease has now been transferred to a new company – raising concerns the new owners will change the property’s historical buildings instead of preserving them.
The company McMillan sold the retail portion of Liberty Station to Seligman, a commercial developer, for $158 million. Seligman took over the lease at the new year with 47 years left on the lease.
The San Diego mayor’s office said, “The experience of this new ownership group gives the city confidence they will be good stewards.”
However, not everyone is convinced.
The former president of Save Our NTC, John McNab, is upset that the historic buildings at Liberty Station were not all refurbished as originally promised by McMillan.
McNab said he is worried the historic core of the old Naval Training Center is changing and becoming more commercialized.
The San Diego mayor’s office released the following statement:
"The Mayor's priority is to ensure that the historic North Chapel is preserved and maintained for future generations to enjoy. We've been in close contact with the new owner at Liberty Station and have received assurances that the North Chapel will continue to be used for a variety of purposes as allowed for under the ground lease."
Additionally, rumors of ACE Hardware closing to due to the recent sale were not true. The store’s rent was increasing, but not because of the sale.
Since there are 47 years left on the lease, the mayor has his hands tied in terms of contract negotiations. In the current contract, the lease holders cannot change the historic nature of any of the buildings.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously said the company McMillan sold the retail portion of Liberty Station to Seligman, a commercial developer, for $71 million. The story has been updated to reflect the accurate number of $158 million.