District 3 councilmember Toni Atkins issued a press release on October 7, asking for reconsideration of the Navy’s plan to redevelop the Navy Broadway Complex.
The project puts 15 acres of waterfront property into the hands of San Diego developer Doug Manchester. In exchange for building a new hotel and some commercial and retail space, Manchester has agreed to build the Navy a one-million-square-foot administrative building on the site.
Plans for redevelopment of the Navy’s aged regional headquarters have been in the works for over two decades. After repeated snags, the Navy would like to move full steam ahead, but a mounting resistance from residents might slow progress down.
In the press release, Atkins lists the reasons for her opposition: “It may be the perfect time to reconsider the development agreement for the Navy Broadway Complex. Downtown land use, homeland-security concerns, and local economic circumstances have changed since this agreement was approved 18 years ago; however, San Diego’s desire for an iconic waterfront remains the same.”
The statement came in response to a request from Congresswoman Susan Davis for a similar reevaluation of the project.
“In light of the Congresswoman’s statement, I reiterate my steadfast opposition to the project as presented,” reads the press release. “I am hopeful that the U.S. Navy, the City of San Diego and the Centre City Development Corporation will all come to the table and reopen discussions, review the Navy’s requirements and incorporate those needs into a new development agreement.”
For the concerned citizens, the backing from Atkins doesn’t hold much water. The councilmember is serving the last months of her term and, back in February when the city council voted on whether the Navy should submit a new environmental impact report, the only other dissenting voice on the council came from Councilmember Donna Frye.
With that, the citizens against the Navy Broadway Complex are looking to the candidates from District 3 to follow up on Atkins's efforts.
To date, both Stephen Whitburn and Todd Gloria have spoken out against the project as it is currently proposed.
“I’ve been on the record a while now opposing the project as is currently envisioned. The context of downtown has changed significantly since the project has been proposed. I support an additional environmental review,” says Gloria. “I’d particularly like to see a project that is less dense and places the Navy at a more secure site behind a fence line and would provide additional open space to the citizens along the waterfront.”
Whitburn agrees: “The Navy needs and deserves a good home in San Diego, and the citizens deserve to have unlimited access to the downtown waterfront. We may be able to accomplish both by exploring alternative sites for the administration building. If the intent is to proceed with the current project, then definitely, a new environmental assessment should be done.”
For more on the candidates go to their websites at toddgloria.com and stephenwhitburn.com.