NAVWAR facility in Old Town
The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command facility in Old Town. Courtesy SANDAG

The U.S. Navy announced Friday it was planning to prepare an environmental impact statement on a discussed redevelopment project for its Old Town campus.

A 30-day scoping period and two public meetings, at 4 p.m. on Feb. 13 and Feb. 19, will allow the public to submit written comments. Online and postal written comments will also be accepted. All comments must be submitted by Feb. 24 to be included in the draft environmental impact statement.

The Navy is preparing the environmental impact period to evaluate the effect of new facilities at the Old Town Campus, which currently houses the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, better known as NAVWAR. The site is a World War II-era bomber factory with outdated aircraft hangars as office space. The Navy is proposing to demolish existing buildings and construct new facilities, utilities and infrastructure.

This follows Mayor Kevin Faulconer and acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly signing an exclusive agreement to work together on the project. That signing meant that the Navy is committed to the project — something that wasn’t necessarily a given. The previous Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, was ousted two months after signing an initial memorandum of understanding in 2019.

The 70.5-acre property Interstate 5-adjacent property is just blocks from the Old Town Transit Center, a centrally located spot which would connect San Diego International Airport with the rest of the county’s transit infrastructure. In exchange for redeveloping a portion of the land into a transit hub, the county will build new facilities to house the thousands of Naval cybersecurity experts and contractors currently on site.

The Navy and SANDAG signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2019 to discuss and collaboratively draft a development plan. SANDAG’s board then approved $50 million in initial site-planning funds to be spent over the next five years.

Public comments may be submitted online at www.NAVWAR- or by mail to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, Navy OTC Revitalization EIS Project Manager, Attention: Ron Bochenek, 1220 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92132-5101.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.