Navy hosts real estate competition for NAVWAR properties

A real estate contest that surpasses the size and scope of the city’s sports arena contest is on the horizon.

This fall, the U.S. Navy will issue what is known as a Qualification Request to revitalize the sprawling NAVWAR campus in the Midway area, Greg Geisen, project manager for the effort, told the Union Tribune. The action, which will soon be followed by requests for proposals, will kick-start the competition for real-world conditions where almost anything goes.

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On Thursday, the federal agency issued a press release announcing the pending solicitation and invited developers to pre-register with the procurement system

The Navy offers 70.5 acres of state land to bidders, allowing them to dream bigger than local height limits and cross the line of state affordable housing requirements. There is at least one big limitation. The development team will have to build a new 1.7 million square foot office and warehouse facility at no cost to the Navy, of which he will have to leave 1.1 million square feet on site.

That’s the bottom line, Geissen said.

The property swap (meaning land in exchange for facilities) is modeled after a 2006 deal with Manchester Financial Group for the Navy Broadway Complex. An experimental public-private partnership eventually resulted in his 17-story waterfront office buildings for the Naval Area Southwest, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, and Naval Area Southwest Reserve Configuration Command. . His IQHQ, a life sciences property developer, is currently building a research building on the remainder of the 12-acre site and building a park.

Straddling the Pacific Highway and bordering Interstate 5 in the Midway area, NAVWAR’s site is nearly six times the size.

“This is a big project, so we expect a big team. We will be teaming up with big companies and experts in the field,” he said. “So they are putting together a very big (public-private partnership) A-game. )”

The Navy’s intentions to issue competitive solicitations now are distinct from previous plans.

The agency was working to complete an environmental analysis of the site. In work since January 2020, the report has set out to create a framework of what is possible with properties that are requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. However, the proposed plans, announced in May 2021, explored and supported developments of up to 19.6 million square feet across 109 buildings, some as high as 350 feet, which would sway many people. It made me feel uneasy.

The Navy received a large amount of feedback on the report, over 1,000 comment letters.

“When we took[the draft of the environmental impact statement]to public and public institutions, they said[to us]’We don’t understand what’s going to happen on the Navy’s part. And I’m not really happy with having a wide umbrella… what’s on the federal site and the commercial site. We need more details,” Geisen said. “So we changed the timeline. It is to go out (narrow down the field).

He said the winning development plan could act as a signpost to the rest of the environmental work and give a clearer picture of what can actually be expected on the ground.

Owned by the Navy since the mid-1990s, Naval Station Point Loma’s Old Town Complex is home to the Army’s Naval Information Warfare Systems Command and the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific Division. The mixed group of 5,000 full-time and contract cybersecurity professionals operates the world’s largest intranet with 700,000 network users in 2,500 locations, according to the federal agency. Defense personnel work in WWII-era hangars that were considered outdated, with issues such as sewage problems and leaky roofs among others.

Eager to secure new office and laboratory space, Navy officials tested private sector interest in the location in September 2018. The transit station that serves the airport, otherwise known as San Diego Grand Central, will be placed alongside naval installations and private developments on sprawling grounds. In 2020, the agency commemorated its intention to work towards the land transfer through an exclusive negotiation agreement.

Now they are going in different directions. SANDAG has identified a Port of San Diego administrative office property as a preferred link via his $4 billion people mover to the airport. Longer term, the transit agency says it hopes to use 10 blocks of downtown city and state property to build a transit center with bus, trolley and subway services.

A parting of the road could benefit Navy real estate competition, and could garner even more interest now that developers no longer have to consolidate shipping centers.

“All these costs are off the table,” said Gary London, a property analyst and principal at local firm London Moder Advisors. “A development contract can be evaluated on its own, and testing is the way to make it feasible.”

London expects the pitches will come from domestic companies and include a mix of office space, residential units, retail, hotels and park spaces at scale.

This is because the development team has a blank canvas. Because the land is federally owned and likely to be leased for the long term, local zoning laws and building height limits do not apply. In addition, California’s surplus land law, which requires local governments to transfer land to developers who reserve at least 25% of housing for low-income and high-income residents, does not apply. .

Still, the Navy says it wants to be a good neighbor.

“There is law, then there is common sense. Ultimately, the Navy wants to be a good partner here in San Diego. says. “But on the other hand, we have a great relationship with the city and people of San Diego. We don’t want to turn around and make it confrontational.”

Caitlin Ostomel, spokesperson for Navy Region Southwest said potential master developers will work closely with local communities to consider the Midway Pacific Highway community plan. He said he would encourage people to put it in.

But it has the potential to produce something orders of magnitude larger than what is being proposed at the 48-acre sports arena site in San Diego.

“I think this will be a transformative project for San Diego. Essentially, they’re going to change the whole neighborhood on a very large scale,” said London. But most people walk by that building every day and don’t even think about it, it makes this a very visible project, close to traffic, close to downtown, close to the airport, from now on There’s a huge demand for the kinds of uses that come out of it, this is a perfect urban landfill project on a scale that could only be replicated in a few locations[in San Diego].”

A timeline has yet to be determined, but the Navy expects to issue solicitations by the end of the year and take about a year to pick a winner.

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