The effort to redevelop the area surrounding Valley View Casino Center is moving forward, as the San Diego City Council approved a plan on Monday.
City officials have been working on a comprehensive redevelopment concept–known as the Midway-Pacific Highway plan–for the area around Valley View Casino Center. Under the vision approved by the council, development in the area would include new housing, commercial projects, recreation space, and measures that make the area more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.
That redevelopment is not expected to occur immediately, but instead unfold over a period of decades, However, the initiative could be hastened by expiring leases on city-owned land around the arena. The bulk of existing leases for city-owned land parcels expire in 2020 and officials have not, at least to this point, discussed renewals. As for how the plan affects the Valley View Casino Center–home to hockey’s San Diego Gulls (AHL) and other events–it leaves open three possibilities. That includes leaving the venue as is, demolishing it to make way for new development, or building a new arena in the same area. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The 52-year-old arena could remain as it is, be replaced by mixed-use development or be replaced by a more modern arena, although any new structure higher than 30 feet would require voter approval in a referendum….
The changes envisioned in the plan would likely happen gradually over the next two decades, but officials said they could accelerate if more than 100 city-owned acres around the arena – branded as the Valley View Casino Center — get redeveloped quickly and serve as a catalyst to other projects.
Most of the leases for the city-owned land expire in 2020, and city officials have declined to discuss renewals so that ambitious redevelopment of the area can move forward quickly and smoothly.
The lease for Valley View Casino Center expires in 2020. That agreement could be extended, however, as arena general manager Ernie Hahn told IVN earlier this month that he is hoping to have a three-year extension approved later this year. There has been occasional discussion about replacing the arena, which first opened in 1966, but no plans have come to fruition thus far.
Of note is that the Valley View Casino Center was built in the years before San Diego voters approved a height restriction on buildings west of Interstate 5, an area that includes the Midway District. That effectively means that voter approval would now be required if an arena that matches or exceeds the height of Valley Casino Center were to be constructed at the same site.