The Midway District, located at the northern end of the Point Loma peninsula in San Diego, California, is home to various commercial, industrial, and multi-family residential developments.
San Diego locals know the Midway District for a number of reasons, some of them being the Loma Square plaza, Sports Arena Shopping Center, Kobey’s Swap Meet, Pechanga Arena, SOMA, as well as various restaurants and craft brewery taprooms.
The Midway District, however, has been an even hotter topic in recent years due to plans of redevelopment, more specifically Measure E. Recently, however, the city of San Diego has hit a wall regarding the district’s revitalization.
Let’s talk about the Midway District, what’s to come, and what this all means for San Diego commercial real estate.
What Are the Current Laws in Effect?
Currently, the Midway District is included in San Diego’s 30-foot coastal height limit that was imposed in 1972.
This limit, which can be seen in La Jolla, for example, “applies to all neighborhoods west of the Interstate 5 freeway, excluding downtown,” according to KPBS. The only exemption as of now occurred in 1998 for the construction of SeaWorld San Diego.
What is Measure E?
Now, what’s Measure E?
Measure E challenges this long-standing policy regarding building height.
According to KPBS, Measure E “would exempt the Midway District from the city’s 30-foot coastal height limit, paving the way for big changes to the neighborhood.” The proposed changes (although nothing was set in stone) included:
- Pechanga Arena renovated
- New parks
- Housing units
- Commercial and retail space
- A 12,000-seat soccer stadium
This proposal is a huge opportunity for San Diego commercial real estate.
And interestingly enough, “Measure E was on the ballot as a referral in San Diego on November 3, 2020 [and] was approved,” according to Ballotpedia.
Although Measure E received was approved ‘yes’ with 350,855 votes (56.56%) in 2020, a judge has recently sided with the nonprofit “Save Our Access” who filed a lawsuit, stating that San Diego “failed to conduct an environmental impact report for taller buildings” prior to putting Measure E on the ballot.
KUSI reports that following, “a writ of mandate was issued, invalidating the measure altogether.”
What’s Happening Now?
Now, just because the mandate has been sidelined, does not mean the fight to revitalize the Midway District is over.
Reports show that San Diego Mayor, Todd Gloria, vowed to appeal the ruling. “We’ll fight, and we’ll fight like hell,” says Gloria. “The revitalization of the Midway District is critical to the future of our city — not just for a new sports venue, but again, for the provision of housing that is attainable to low- and middle-income San Diegans.”
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