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Two Development Teams Vie to Redevelop Parking Lot Near Padres’ Stadium

Brookfield, Tishman Speyer Back Competing Mixed-Use Proposals in Downtown San Diego

By Lou Hirsh CoStar News

August 26, 2020 | 3:22 P.M.

Prominent commercial developers Tishman Speyer and Brookfield Properties are competing to redevelop a San Diego parking lot near Petco Park stadium, home of the MLB’s Padres, with office, residential, retail and public spaces in a contest that reflects the growing popularity of real estate projects near sports venues.

City officials unveiled dueling mixed-use plans this week as part of an online open house, as they look to gather public comment on a Padres-led team proposal with New York-based Tishman Speyer and San Diego’s Cisterra Development on board against a competing plan from New York-based Brookfield. Tishman and Brookfield are global investors and developers of office, mixed-use and other high-profile projects.

Nationwide development near sports stadiums is becoming increasingly common. Professional teams and their home cities are more often looking to maximize the value of land near existing arenas to create year-round generators of revenue beyond sports seasons, with apartments, offices, retail and entertainment spaces.

San Diego officials have dubbed the planned mixed-use project East Village Quarter and are looking to maximize city-owned real estate in downtown and other locations, while also potentially adding to the local stock of affordable apartments in the nation’s eighth-most populous city. Officials in late 2019 put out a request for proposals to redevelop the 7.6-acre, city-owned downtown lot and will be taking public comments online through Sept. 4.

City staff are expected to recommend one of the plans to San Diego’s mayor and city council later this year. The city would then negotiate specific terms and concept elements with the selected project team before a development is formally approved.

According to filings with the city, the plan from the Padres, Tishman Speyer and Cisterra Development includes 1.35 million square feet of offices, 50,000 square feet of retail, 612 residential units and 236,000 square feet of public plazas. There would also be a recreational field built on top of a 1,600-space parking garage.

Erik Greupner, the Padres’ president of business operations who is heading the team’s East Village proposal, said the team envisions the project becoming “a vibrant, active and inclusive district for all San Diegans.”

Greupner said in an email to CoStar News that “our initial plans support regional and community goals to create jobs, provide new housing opportunities and increase transit connectivity.”

The Brookfield proposal calls for 1.2 million square feet of offices, 85,000 square feet of retail, 1,200 residential units and 291 hotel rooms, with a 25,000-square-foot technology company incubator and a 115,000-square-foot kitchen incubator with shared amenities for up to 15 startup restaurants and other food-service businesses. Also planned is a 21,000-square-foot outdoor bazaar selling artisanal foods and related supplies, 3,200 parking spaces, and public gathering and entertainment spaces spread throughout the site.

Brookfield officials did not immediately respond to requests for a comment. In its filings with the city, Brookfield project leaders said its East Village development would "stimulate and sustain social, economic, and design benefits by providing jobs, housing, and active public spaces to the community."

"It will encourage commerce from start-up to established operations; housing for families of all income levels; forums for community interaction; cultural experiences that inspire, and leading edge sustainability," Brookfield said in a document posted on the city's website.

The downtown parking lot, known locally as Tailgate Park since Petco Park opened in 2004, is in a high-profile location one block from the ballpark and also near the popular Gaslamp Quarter entertainment district, the San Diego Convention Center and several large existing hotels. The site is adjacent to a large terminus station of the San Diego Trolley.

Brookfield is also one of two prominent developers, competing with a Toll Brothers-led team, looking to redevelop the area around the aging, city-owned San Diego Sports Arena with mixed-use elements in the Midway District north of downtown.

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