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Efforts to redevelop Midway District start over

The state forced the City of San Diego to drop an original bid earlier this year

SAN DIEGO — While driving the streets behind San Diego’s Pechanga Arena it’s clear to see why city leaders and residents have wanted the area beautified for a long time. Blocky warehouses and empty storefronts mostly line the blocks of the central San Diego district.

"Anyone else who lives in this neighborhood knows that this community needs help," said Dike Anyiwo the Vice-chair of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group. "There's a lot of frustration within the planning group. But how long just the Sports Arena cycle is taking, the fact that we have to start over after a year and a half, almost two years down this road is really frustrating."

Originally championed by former Mayor Kevin Faulconer in late 2020, the group had accepted a bid from real estate company Brookfield Properties to redevelop the Midway District. The plans included new shops, parks, housing and an arena. But earlier this year, the state put a stop to the proposal after it was found the city would be violating the Surplus Land Act.

"It's a very specific rule that says that any time a public agency like a city of San Diego is looking to dispose of surplus land, it must first offer that property to the affordable housing community," said Anyiwo.

The planning group skipped that step and the plan fell through. But the city and the planning group are not giving up and as of this week have started accepting bids from developers with strict accordance to state law.

"The substantive difference this time will be at least 25% of whatever gets built there from a housing standpoint will be what we call deed-restricted, affordable housing," said Anyiwo.

In addition to the affordable housing, the group is committed to keeping its vision of more green space and a brand new arena. They’ll be accepting bids for the next 60 days so those who live in Midway community will have to wait a little longer to see change come to the district.

"We just need to be patient, go through the process, trust the process, if you will, and we'll see what happens next," said Anyiwo.

RELATED: Mayor Gloria to restart process to redevelop Midway Sports Arena site

RELATED: How sports arenas became the poster child of California’s housing crisis

Watch Related: Ways Measure E could benefit the Midway District (November 2020)

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