Brandon Hernández 5:09 a.m., June 19
The housing market has been depressed for a few years now, prices are way down, foreclosures and bank-owned properties are everywhere. We have all figured out that the party is over....all of us that is, except developers in Mission Valley. There is an enormous glut of housing on the market, so much that the Federal Government had to come in and purchase foreclosed properties to keep the market from totally tanking and YET Mission Valley is experiencing a BOOM! You would think it was 2003 all over again.
Civitas is one of the largest developments in San Diego. Its a 230-acre mixed-use project being built in San Diego's old quarry. How can San Diego be in the middle of the largest housing bust in history and simultaneously be experiencing this boom? Why would a developer build a project of this magnitude in this market?
Maybe it helps to understand who this developer is. He is Stephen Haase: President of Sudberry Properties. He previously worked as assistant director and acting director of the City of San Diego Development Services Department.
“Mr. Stephen M. Haase provides entitlement support for the company's retail and mixed-use projects, including the recently approved 230-acre Civita mixed-use development in San Diego, CA. He is actively involved in project design and community outreach to achieve the company's goal of delivering the highest quality development.”
“He joined the company in 2006 after 16 years in the public sector where he managed large, complex organizations responsible for all aspects of land use, planning and building safety.”
So essentially Stephen went from running Development Services to a job in the private sector for a for-profit development company and received the largest development deal in Mission Valley to develop 230 acres in mixed use. The project was approved by City Council in 2008 and broke ground in December of 2010.
Coincidentally, the project was approved at the same time Haase was serving as a primary member on the Mayor's Technical Advisory Board a board which had expanded its role in a very questionable and perhaps illegal way...
"To proactively advise the Mayor and the Land Use and Housing Committee on improvements to the regulatory process through the review of policies and regulations that impact development."
The meeting minutes of this board show they discuss everything from building codes, height limitations, streamlining their permit process, how they should take advantage of their relationship with politicians, their own fees and my favorite quote "if the public benefits they should pay". One particular note from Haase in the minutes was his recommendations with regards to green building code requirements: "Stephen Haase stated should not need third party certification, should be local discussion."
Is this another case of the Mayor throwing his weight around to get his friend this project? (see the Kessler lawsuit) http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
No matter how you spin it something isn't adding up here. This project begs alot of questions.
How is this project being financed?
Why is this project being financed?
How much did the developer pay for the land?
Who is paying for all the infrastructure?
Did the Mayor help Haase get this project approved?
Is this a Delaware LLc hiding the names of individual investors?
Is this project being subsidized by the City of San Diego?
And perhaps most importantly how did Haase get away with serving on the Mayor's Technical Advisory Board WHILE this project was being approved by the City? and thus...Why isn't the FBI looking into this?