This ambitious initiative to rehabilitate eight acres of San Diego’s Civic Core centers on affordable housing.
San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza is surrounded by five blocks of excellent Downtown real estate that will soon be listed for sale.
The Surplus Land Act of the State will be used to list this conveniently located real estate, which includes City Hall, Golden Hall, the Civic Theater, and 101 Ash Street, for sale or lease.
The requirement that developers put aside at least 25% of new residential units as affordable housing is a crucial component of this ambitious plan to rehabilitate eight acres of San Diego’s civic heart.
According to City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, “This is a decision that will affect multiple generations of San Diegans and in many ways could shape the future of the city.”
These five blocks of land in the heart of downtown have now been deemed “surplus land” by the city council by a vote of eight to one.
This will make it possible for independent developers to compete for the lease.
Offering cheap housing is the main objective, even though it could also feature retail, commercial space, transit, and amenities.
No particular figures were given, but this would include deed-restricted housing for San Diegans earning 30% or less of the median income for the region, which is roughly $39,000 per year for a family of four.
Council Member Vivian Moreno cast the lone “no” vote, saying, “I don’t feel that this is the right approach for this project.” She asserted that she thought the city could produce more affordable housing than a private developer.
“There will almost certainly be more affordable housing for San Diego when you remove the private profit motive and have public agencies focused on building a project that most benefits the public,” Moreno said.
A further stage of this project would entail replacing the existing City Operations building along First Avenue with a new City Hall and devoting $2 million from the General Fund for consultants.
Bill Anderson, a former planning director for the city of San Diego and the past president of the American Planning Association, remarked, “I have to applaud Mayor Gloria for taking this on.”
It’s a chance to build an iconic public area for our city that strengthens its brand, he continued.
Before putting the finishing touches on this plan, Anderson does wonder if it was essential to classify this property “surplus.” She also wants to make sure that the public continues to have a say in how this precious area is developed.
The issue of how to best retain the public’s priority throughout this entire process is a suggestion, according to Anderson, who told CBS 8. “I think we could do more if we work together,” Anderson said.
This is simply the start of a protracted process. Potential developers will then get a “notice of availability” from the city and have 60 days to reply.