A massive redevelopment of the Navy’s regional headquarters in downtown San Diego cleared one of its final hurdles Wednesday when the Civic San Diego Board of Directors signed off on the $1.3 billion project.
The Manchester Pacific Gateway project proposed years ago by local developer Doug Manchester would replace one of the last major downtown eyesores with office and hotel towers, retail and restaurant space, room for a museum, and a 1.9-acre public park.
Manchester signed a 99-year lease for the property in 2007 with the Navy, which would occupy one of the office towers.
Also, E, F and G streets would be extended to North Harbor Drive, and a north-south paseo would run between Broadway and Seaport Village. When completed, around 2,400 parking spaces would be available to the public at night, and on weekends and holidays.
A “huge demand” exists for parking in downtown San Diego amid a dwindling supply, Project Manager Perry Dealy told the CivicSD directors.
He said the project encompasses eight blocks that are “blighted” and date back to the 1920s and 1930s.
“No offense to the Navy, but I bet they haven’t spent 10 cents on that building since it was built,” Dealy said.
The idea of redeveloping the property, bounded by North Harbor Drive, Pacific Highway and Broadway, surfaced before 1990. It has been fought by environmental groups who want to open up the waterfront for public use. Numerous lawsuits were filed to stop the project.
“This thing has been litigated to death and Manchester Gateway has won,” Civic San Diego Board Chairman Jeff Gattas said.
The agency, which assists the city of San Diego with development issues, was charged with determining whether the project met the terms of a 1992 agreement between the Navy and city. The directors voted 7-1 in favor, with one abstention.
Dealy said the final hurdle is an appeal before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which previously approved the project. He said a hearing has already been held, and he’s just waiting to be notified of a final decision.
He estimated that demolition work could begin next March or April.
— City News Service
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