San Diego Is Trying Again To Get An Arena-Village Built

Two proposals are on the table to build a new San Diego arena.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. In November 2020, San Diego voters said yes to a referendum to pave the way for a new San Diego arena. The law would allow structures to be over 30 feet in height in the Midway District clearing the way to build an arena-village. In 1972, San Diego decided to limit development near the city’s coast line by not allowing structures over 30 feet in height. A proposed arena-village complex would go up on San Diego city property. That land presently houses the city-owned arena. The property would end up in the hands of a private developer. San Diego claimed the city actually would lease the property and should be exempted from California law. But the state said the law applies to leased property. San Diego did have a deal in place for an arena-village project but the plan fell through because of that California law which also requires public agencies and affordable housing developers to have the first option on a property being sold by public agencies. The process started again and there are now two proposals to build an arena-village.

There are people in San Diego who are pushing to do something about replacing the city’s 55-year-old arena and envision an entertainment district. But San Diego has an anchor tenant problem. The National Basketball Association is not interested in returning to a city that did not work for them twice and the National Hockey League is probably not going to be adding any teams. Additionally, the NHL would not be very interested in San Diego because the city does not have a large corporate community. There would be interest from minor league teams but an arena needs more than minor league sports and concerts to survive.

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Donald Sterling moved his Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984.