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As Sports Arena finalists are picked, affordable housing comes into focus

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Posted at 5:23 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 23:51:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The future of the Sports Arena site is beginning to come into focus.

On Monday, the City Council chose three finalists to redevelop the 48 acres in the midway district.

The project, for some, could be a lifeline.

"For a few days I was on the street with nothing, the clothes on my back," said Matthew Kearney, who addressed the council Monday.

Kearney's life is very different now. He's living in a modern studio inside The Link apartment building on 17th and G. His rent -- just $300 a month.

"When I hit rock bottom, strangers came out to help me, and now this is payback," he said.

Matt Kearney, a San Diegan living in affordable housing, speaks to the City Council on Monday, May 23, 2022

On Monday his payback came in form of a trip to City Hall, where the council debated proposals to redevelop the 48.5 acre sports arena site. Stepping up to the dias, Kearney told the council, "I want to emphasize these words: we need housing. We need housing for low income."

And at the Sports Arena site, there's plenty of room for it, with a massive parking lot surrounding the venue. Five developers are vying to transform the site into a place for San Diegans to live, work and play. After a brief presentation from each, the council narrowed it down to three finalists -- those that appeared the most feasible and that offered the most affordable housing units.

The council chose projects called Midway Rising, Hometown SD, and Midway Village+. The projects are proposing proposing between 1,600 and 2,000 affordable housing units on the site, plus a new arena and other attractions to bring San Diegans from all over.

City staff will now begin due diligence on the three proposals. They're expected to return to the council with their recommendation for a finalist before the end of the calendar year.