Downtown Waterfront Project Faces New Hurdle

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor Although the Navy’s downtown waterfront project was approved 20 years ago, Signon San Diego reports the plan is facing a new hurdle. The $1.1 billion, 3.25-million-square-foot reconstruction must be approved by the California Coastal Commission which [...]

Although the Navy’s downtown waterfront project was approved 20 years ago, Signon San Diego reports the plan is facing a new hurdle. The $1.1 billion, 3.25-million-square-foot reconstruction must be approved by the California Coastal Commission which requires the Navy and the developer to revise the proposal.

The office-hotel-retail development will need a new consistency determination in order to ensure compliance with the State Coastal Act. Currently the 14-acre site houses the southwest regional headquarters of the Navy.

Developer Doug Manchester’s plan for the 3.25 million square foot Pacific Gateway project includes: three hotels (one with twin towers); three office towers; one office tower for the Navy; 250,000 square feet of retail, entertainment, restaurant and cultural space; above-grade parking; and a 1.9 acre park.

According to a report by the Coastal Commission, due to the significant changes in the character of the San Diego waterfront over the 20 past years, coupled with the addition of high-rise residential towers and the construction of Petco Park, the plan needs to be revised.

The Coastal Commission is still showing support but suggested Manchester should add more public open space along Harbor Drive, decrease the building heights near the waterfront, and modify other details. The staff also asks for further investigation regarding potential earthquake faults.

Perry Dealy, development manager for Manchester, said the size of the development can’t be reduced because the commercial side is meant to support the construction cost and operation of the 326,000-square-foot Navy office building. The tower was promised to the Navy at no cost to taxpayers.