SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The future of the former sports arena site in the Midway District remains uncertain. The City of San Diego confirmed with ABC 10News that negotiations were halted with commercial developer Brookfield Properties because the land may need to be offered to affordable housing developers.
The iconic Pechanga Arena, formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena, sits on nearly 50 acres of land.
Last summer, the city announced Brookfield's concept of turning the site into a new arena that's surrounded by parks, shops and housing.
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The reason for the sudden halt in negotiations has to do with questions over whether the land has to be offered to affordable housing developers first, according to state regulations.
"It's a big site. Land like that is not available in the city, for the most part, in this city, especially in a location like that so it's a big opportunity," said Laura Nunn with San Diego Housing Federation.
The issue has to do with what's called the Surplus Land Act, or SLA. The act aims to produce more affordable homes by prioritizing the use of surplus local public land for affordable home developers.
The act previously applied to land that's just for sale and not for land that's up for lease. Brookfield was planning to lease the land from the city. However, the city confirmed that the act was recently updated to also apply to land that's up for lease. If that's the case, priority might be given to affordable housing developers.
"We need affordable housing so badly and tools like the Surplus Land Act are there so we can maximize our public assets for the public good," added Nunn.
The city is reportedly waiting on state officials for clarification on whether the act will prohibit the transaction with Brookfield Properties.