A new San Diego Loyal stadium seating 20,000 is part of a proposal to redo the Pechanga Arena area into a multiuse development featuring a new arena, affordable housing and a concert venue.
We’ve been following this story at sister site Arena Digest, where the city has been soliciting bids to redevelop the 48-acre site housing the former San Diego Sports Arena. The deadline for redeveloping proposals was Friday, with at least five responses to the RFP. All call for a new arena and 4,000 or so units of housing, with a percentage priced as affordable units to meet California regulations on the sale of public land for private development.
Of the five bids, the one of most interest here is from the Midway Village+ group, made up of housing developer Toll Brothers, Newport Beach-based Revitate (a private equity firm with ties to the Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center), David Malmuth Development and affordable-housing specialist Bridge Housing. Besides a new arena, a hotel and the requisite housing, the group is proposing a 12,000-capacity pop-up stadium to be used temporarily while a new 20,000 stadium is built.
Technically, the location of the new arena is outside the 48 acres under city control, so San Diego officials are now being asked to evaluate its merits. But the fact that a fairly large soccer stadium is being pitched should lead to some talk about exactly what San Diego Loyal is planning.
Pop-up stadiums are a well-known phenomena in USL Championship soccer: Phoenix Rising has played in two pop-up stadiums in recent years. And even before players took the pitch at Torero Stadium, University of San Diego football home, Loyal ownership was discussing a pop-up stadium for the team.
But adding a 20,000-seat stadium to the mix is an interesting twist and indicated someone is thinking beyond USL Championship for San Diego Loyal. A stadium that size is basically the size of Allianz Field and Children’s Mercy Park and considered the sweet spot for MLS venues at this time. It’s no secret MLS wants into San Diego and has talked with San Diego State University officials about playing at the new Aztec Stadium, currently under construction.
Until an arena plan is approved–which should take place the first half of 2022–the talk of a new San Diego Loyal stadium will not be a core issue. But as the evaluation process moves forward, keep an eye on the status of the Midway Village+ group.
Rendering courtesy Midway Village+.