San Diego OK’s 96-year park agreement with IQHQ

San Diego plans to have private developers build and manage public parks, rather than themselves, on the land on the waterfront opposite San Diego Bay.

On Monday, city council members unanimously approved a park agreement with the real estate investment trust IQHQ for a 1.5-acre plot called Block 1A in downtown the former Navy Broadway Complex. This action meant that the city would lose its long-standing right to lease blocks from developers, and would hold the builder responsible for creating an almost passive public park to manage and manage until May 31, 2117. I will bear it.

“This 96-year agreement, if signed, requires IQHQ to meet the conditions and standards of design, construction, use and maintenance of Block 1A,” said Karen, assistant director of the city’s park and recreation department. Denison said in the presentation. To be a member of the council. “San Diego residents will get world-class open spaces for taxpayers for free.”

The deal was praised by several council members who believed the deal would secure an exemplary park for the general public without depleting the city’s already tense financial resources.

“It costs millions of dollars to build and maintain a nice park. I wish we were in a position to do that … we get out of the structural budget deficit. I’m busy because of that, “said Stephen Whitburn, a city council member representing the downtown area.

“With this agreement, we waive the right to build the park and IQHQ will build the park. They will benefit because they are adding a beautiful park to the Life Sciences campus. It will be a great amenity for companies considering leasing space there. They will want to attract and maintain tenants, IQHQ, and they will love it. It will have a strong incentive to make it a good park and keep it well. “

He said residents of San Diego would benefit from the new park, which is open seven days a week, in addition to temporary event closures.

Block 1A is located on the northwest corner of what is commonly referred to as the Old Navy Broadway Complex, a 12-acre site between the Pacific Highway and Harvard Drive. IQHQ purchased a century-long leasehold For the block from Manchester Financial Group and several others in the quest to build a Gulf life sciences city called the San Diego R & D District. The $ 1.6 billion lab and office complex consists of 1.4 million square feet of development spanning five buildings of different heights, including a ground floor retail district with a public paseo that moves across site lengths. Will be.

The entire complex, owned by the Navy and now mostly rented to developers, is subject to the 1992 Development Agreement between the city and federal agencies. The statutory agreement stipulates that Block 1A should be developed as an open space park. It also states that the city has the right to lease surface areas free of charge for 65 years. Earlier this year, IQHQ offered the city a free lease offer. If this was accepted, San Diego would have to handle all development and maintenance costs.

San Diego will instead waive its lease and enter into an easement, use and maintenance agreement with IQHQ for 96 years. This agreement legally binds developers to build a recreational park that is open to the public from 6 am to 10 pm daily, except during private events.

The contract sets some limits on the frequency and length of small, medium and large events. For example, only half of the open space is not open to the public at any time due to small (up to 6,000 square feet of space) or medium-sized events (up to 20,000 square feet of space). In addition, large-scale events that can take over the entire area for up to 5 consecutive days are limited to a total of 30 days per year. Companies that handle all park programming and permitting features need to maintain space in a “first class” way and pay for certain security.

The developer’s current vision for Block 1A requires multiple lawn areas with different lounge and seating options. There are no buildings, including toilets, and permanent fences are prohibited. The space is designed to accommodate a variety of outdoor activities, including large concerts and festivals. The park is located above an underground car park open to the public for 2,000 cars.

“We are excited to create a great open space that benefits the community of employees, residents and visitors who are attracted to the great waterfront location,” IQHQ President Tracy Murphy said in a statement. .. “IQHQ is committed to creating a vibrant neighborhood that blends lifestyle and life sciences in an environment full of amenities, restaurants, retail stores and a great open space for everyone to enjoy.”

Council speakers expressed concern about private events and lack of toilet facilities that impede public access.

“We are all familiar with how public access works primarily. Pamela Heatherington, director of the San Diego Environmental Center, said:” Private events are public access. Priority is given to. The general public, who often only have weekends to enjoy public places, will probably be excluded. Like Lady Shell on public lands, admission is available with admission fees. increase.”

Gary Smith, president of Downtown San Diego Residents Group, said he supported the park agreement despite similar bookings. He likened the IQHQ contract to a park contract that the city has signed with the San Diego Padres.

“Between setting and dismantling private events and the private events themselves, (Padres’ Gallagher Square) has spent more time on private events than on public access, and I suspect this will happen here as well. I’m worried, “he said. “There is no way to give up control and still maintain control.”

IQHQ should seek public opinion on the design of the park within 90 days of the agreement taking effect. The company aims to complete the construction of the park in the fall of 2023. It is contractually required to complete the public plaza within four years of obtaining the approval of the park plan or within one year of completing the building in the adjacent block. beginning.

San Diego OK’s 96-year park agreement with IQHQ Source link San Diego OK’s 96-year park agreement with IQHQ

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