4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

What's next for Union-Tribune real estate?

Mission Valley boom won't be without lawsuits

Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley
Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley

The fate of Doug Manchester's U-T San Diego property in Mission Valley appears to up in the air, literally, as an environmental rights group has threatened to sue the City of San Diego and Manchester if greenhouse gas emissions are not accurately recorded and reduced, as required by California law.

On Tuesday, September 15, the city council will decide whether to overturn approval of Manchester's proposed 12.86-acre conversion of what is now San Diego's daily newspaper headquarters to a mixed-use residential and commercial mixed-use development.

In June of this year, the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF) appealed the San Diego Planning Commission's approval over claims that the city failed to use accurate greenhouse-gas emission estimates and instead fudged the numbers to save Manchester, and other developers, from having to perform any air-quality mitigation measures.

If the council refuses to grant the appeal, the environmental foundation’s attorneys have indicated a lawsuit could follow.

Here Comes the Boom

The planned development of the Union-Tribune parcel, located south of Fashion Valley near Friars Road, is one of many projects slated for Mission Valley. According to numerous city reports, Mission Valley and surrounding communities are expected to bear the brunt of a forecasted population surge in coming decades. One such forecast, the 2050 Regional Growth Forecast (conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments), predicts the city's population will swell to just under 2 million by 2050 from what is now estimated at 1.3 million.

In response, city planners and developers have focused their sights on centrally located areas near transit and other public services. Mission Valley is among those communities. Massive mixed-use projects such as Civita, Archstone, and others have already begun. More are planned, including the long-talked-about expansion of the Town and Country Resort, located next to the Union-Tribune property. With development sure to come, environmental rights groups are watching closely, ensuring the city follows all environmental laws.

Something in the Air

In regards to their appeal of the Union-Tribune development, CERF attorney Livia Borak and executive director Marco Gonzalez objected to air-quality numbers used in the project's environmental reports.

In a June 17, 2015, letter, Borak and Gonzalez accused the city of failing to recognize the actual increase of greenhouse-gas emissions as a result of the project moving forward as planned. In addition, they objected to allowing Manchester to build without addressing those issues.

"Unless the [environmental impact report] analyzes the project's true impacts against the existing environment, it will fail to comply with [the California Environmental Quality Act]. CERF urges the city to consider its role in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions as a local entity with land-use authority. Unless the City complies with the [Assembly Bill 32], Scoping Plan, Executive Order S-3-05, Executive Order B-30-15, and CEQA, the [draft environmental impact report] will not withstand judicial scrutiny."

But the city is sticking to its guns. In an August 25, 2015, memo, an employee for the city defended the environmental report in regards to future emissions.

Senior planner Jeffrey Szymanski said the city used a baseline of zero greenhouse-gas emissions for the environmental report because the Union-Tribune’s printing plant will no longer be used and the new buildings will be located on what are now undeveloped areas of the property.

As for greenhouse-gas emissions, the city's environmental report estimates 1983 metric tons of carbon dioxide will seep into the environment. That number, wrote Szymanski, will be offset, however, by 722 metric tons in reductions from clean car and energy efficiency laws already on the books. The reduction amounts to 36.4 percent, far below the state-mandated 28.3 percent that California state law requires. As a result, Manchester can forego performing additional mitigation measures. According to the letter, the formula used by the city was referred to as the "business-as-usual scenario."

Business as Usual

Attorney Borak, however, attacks that business-as-usual approach. The so-called 722 metric tons in reductions should have already been factored in, meaning the law currently requires that the fuel and energy reduction measures be implemented and should not be identified as mitigation measures.

Borak says the business-as-usual approach will get the city, and its residents in trouble.

"The developer hasn’t agreed to do anything. That’s why there’s no mitigation," writes Borak in a September 10 email. "The baseline the city used is the project without energy and fuel reduction measures. This is crazy because those regulatory measures are already in place. In other words, there’s no way the project could be built without these reductions. It would be illegal. Nonetheless, that’s what the city calls business as usual and that’s what the city uses as baseline. The city and consultant then calculated the project as it will be built in reality. But that’s not a reduction. That’s just reality."

The council will hear the appeal on Tuesday September 15 during council's afternoon session.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

George Sterling: calm hub of wild Bohemian Carmel community

Celebrated by Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis
Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley
Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley

The fate of Doug Manchester's U-T San Diego property in Mission Valley appears to up in the air, literally, as an environmental rights group has threatened to sue the City of San Diego and Manchester if greenhouse gas emissions are not accurately recorded and reduced, as required by California law.

On Tuesday, September 15, the city council will decide whether to overturn approval of Manchester's proposed 12.86-acre conversion of what is now San Diego's daily newspaper headquarters to a mixed-use residential and commercial mixed-use development.

In June of this year, the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF) appealed the San Diego Planning Commission's approval over claims that the city failed to use accurate greenhouse-gas emission estimates and instead fudged the numbers to save Manchester, and other developers, from having to perform any air-quality mitigation measures.

If the council refuses to grant the appeal, the environmental foundation’s attorneys have indicated a lawsuit could follow.

Here Comes the Boom

The planned development of the Union-Tribune parcel, located south of Fashion Valley near Friars Road, is one of many projects slated for Mission Valley. According to numerous city reports, Mission Valley and surrounding communities are expected to bear the brunt of a forecasted population surge in coming decades. One such forecast, the 2050 Regional Growth Forecast (conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments), predicts the city's population will swell to just under 2 million by 2050 from what is now estimated at 1.3 million.

In response, city planners and developers have focused their sights on centrally located areas near transit and other public services. Mission Valley is among those communities. Massive mixed-use projects such as Civita, Archstone, and others have already begun. More are planned, including the long-talked-about expansion of the Town and Country Resort, located next to the Union-Tribune property. With development sure to come, environmental rights groups are watching closely, ensuring the city follows all environmental laws.

Something in the Air

In regards to their appeal of the Union-Tribune development, CERF attorney Livia Borak and executive director Marco Gonzalez objected to air-quality numbers used in the project's environmental reports.

In a June 17, 2015, letter, Borak and Gonzalez accused the city of failing to recognize the actual increase of greenhouse-gas emissions as a result of the project moving forward as planned. In addition, they objected to allowing Manchester to build without addressing those issues.

"Unless the [environmental impact report] analyzes the project's true impacts against the existing environment, it will fail to comply with [the California Environmental Quality Act]. CERF urges the city to consider its role in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions as a local entity with land-use authority. Unless the City complies with the [Assembly Bill 32], Scoping Plan, Executive Order S-3-05, Executive Order B-30-15, and CEQA, the [draft environmental impact report] will not withstand judicial scrutiny."

But the city is sticking to its guns. In an August 25, 2015, memo, an employee for the city defended the environmental report in regards to future emissions.

Senior planner Jeffrey Szymanski said the city used a baseline of zero greenhouse-gas emissions for the environmental report because the Union-Tribune’s printing plant will no longer be used and the new buildings will be located on what are now undeveloped areas of the property.

As for greenhouse-gas emissions, the city's environmental report estimates 1983 metric tons of carbon dioxide will seep into the environment. That number, wrote Szymanski, will be offset, however, by 722 metric tons in reductions from clean car and energy efficiency laws already on the books. The reduction amounts to 36.4 percent, far below the state-mandated 28.3 percent that California state law requires. As a result, Manchester can forego performing additional mitigation measures. According to the letter, the formula used by the city was referred to as the "business-as-usual scenario."

Business as Usual

Attorney Borak, however, attacks that business-as-usual approach. The so-called 722 metric tons in reductions should have already been factored in, meaning the law currently requires that the fuel and energy reduction measures be implemented and should not be identified as mitigation measures.

Borak says the business-as-usual approach will get the city, and its residents in trouble.

"The developer hasn’t agreed to do anything. That’s why there’s no mitigation," writes Borak in a September 10 email. "The baseline the city used is the project without energy and fuel reduction measures. This is crazy because those regulatory measures are already in place. In other words, there’s no way the project could be built without these reductions. It would be illegal. Nonetheless, that’s what the city calls business as usual and that’s what the city uses as baseline. The city and consultant then calculated the project as it will be built in reality. But that’s not a reduction. That’s just reality."

The council will hear the appeal on Tuesday September 15 during council's afternoon session.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's anti-fascists turn fascist

What really happened in Pacific Beach
Next Article

Chula Vista’s avant garde

Louis Valenzuela, Ashen Earth, L.A. Edwards, Radio Moscow, Stephen Pearcy
Comments
7

There are areas of Mission Valley that appear to be in near traffic gridlock all day. The road that passes the Town and Country and then the U-T building was, last time I was on it, a two lane road. Actually it was formerly a country lane that survived all that urbanization. Yes, more public transit is needed in that area, and will be part of the plan. But so much of the San Diego area is auto-dependent that nearly everyone needs a car if they leave the immediate area. And what will be done to ameliorate the traffic when this ever-more-dense development occurs?

Sept. 11, 2015

Manchester has announced the sale of the U-T Mission Valley property to a developer who is "an old friend" (quote from Manchester's consigliere Dick Gibbons). http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/sep/11/ut-building-mission-valley-bbl/

Best guess is that they thought opposition to the Mission Valley development would be less vociferous if Manchester's name was not on the development.

Sept. 11, 2015

Who says there's no money in the newspaper business? He's getting something like $50 million for the real estate. Platinum paid $35-50 million for the UT, sold it for an estimated "over" $110 million. Manchester now sells for total $135 million and still has some stake in the real estate he just sold. It looks like the UT could have generated as much as $75 million total "profit" for the last two owners and I'll bet Manchester's got some sort of deal that gives him a share of future profits.

Sept. 11, 2015

Yes, but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's still a Manchester DUCK.

Sept. 11, 2015

I hope that Manchester has nothing but problems with this property.

Sept. 12, 2015

Somehow I cannot see the city council ruling against the developers, whoever they may be. What is the next step after that? I don't go to Mission Valley/Fashion Valley much anymore because of the traffic gridlock.

Sept. 12, 2015

I thought we were in a drought. Why is any development being considered while we're being told to let our yards die and to take "sea showers" with a bucket?

Sept. 13, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close