Measure A would lift building height limits in proximity to the city-owned sports arena.
A secretive, Canada-based global development giant, backed by cash from Qatar among other shadowy investors, is the primary backer of San Diego's Measure E, a proposal on next month's ballot to lift building height limits in proximity to the city-owned sports arena, potentially providing the firm with a multi-billion-dollar windfall.
"To unpack the Canadian group's accounts is to discover not so much a company as a giant, triangular jigsaw board that spreads across the world and covers assets worth $500 billion," says a February 2020 report by the Financial Times about Brookfield Asset Management.
Bob White, Craig Benedetto, Ben Haddad
"The pieces are hundreds of corporate entities, all locked together by elaborate contracts, which give 40 people at the top the right to rule huge sections of the puzzle almost as if it were their own."
So far, according to San Diego campaign filings, Brookfield Properties Development, LLC of Costa Mesa has supplied a total of $402,205 to the Yes on Measure E campaign seeking to raise height limits in the Midway area.
The Brookfield money makes up the bulk of the committee's $513,404 total contributions reported to the city as of October 23.
"Brookfield is a name that towers over the global investment industry, even if it receives less scrutiny or attention than rivals of similar size," notes the Financial Times.
The investment behemoth has received only limited examination in San Diego. Its behind-the-scenes maneuvering has complemented the famously non-transparent style of termed-out Mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose secret dealings regarding a scandal-plagued downtown office project have only recently come to light.
Additionally, Faulconer's closed-door dalliance with principals behind the now defunct Soccer Cityplan for the site formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium featured secret meetings with Morgan Dene Oliver, who subsequently went to work for Brookfield Residential Properties, Inc.
In February 6, 2019, a partnership of Brookfield Residential and McMillan's development company abruptly withdrew a $361-million proposal to build a hotel and retail complex on Harbor Island owned by the Port of San Diego.
"As we discussed, Brookfield Residential/OliverMcMillan has decided to withdraw from the [Exclusive Negotiating Agreement] for Harbor Island," McMillan said in a letter to the port cited by the Union-Tribune.
"We want to wish you and your staff and the Port Commission the best of luck proceeding with Harbor Island."
In July of this year, Brookfield's similarly abrupt move to pull out of a Burlington, Vermont redevelopment project led that city's mayor to threaten a lawsuit.
"We made a lot of progress over the past three years, completing the assembly of the site and progressing approvals, but the long-term nature of the next phase of this development doesn't fit with our funds mandate," a Brookfield spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.
In August of this year, Faulconer announced that he had chosen a partnership of Brookfield and ASM Global, a holding company of Denver billionaire Phillip Anschutz, to redevelop the long-neglected city-owned Sports Arena.
The plan is tightly linked to the success in November of Measure E to raise height limits, allowing developers to greatly increase commercial and residential density to maximize their profits.
That move followed years of behind the scenes mayoral intrigue including an August 2019 Union-Tribune report that Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks and its San Diego farm team, had won the sports arena lease.
Samueli's high-dollar lobbyists were Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto of California Strategies, Sacramento's take-no-prisoners lobbying outfit founded by onetime Pete Wilson aide Bob White.
The pair was working for Soccer City when it was revealed that Republican councilman Chris Cate had leaked them a sensitive internal city memo regarding the proposal.
Cate later paid a $5000 city ethics penalty, and Samueli's purported deal for the Sports Arena never came to pass.