• Sun. May 19th, 2024

Billionaire Kroenke’s Company Joins San Diego Sports Arena Development


Jun 12, 2023
Plans for Midway Rising include replacing or renovating the aging San Diego Sports Arena and adding more than 4,000 apartments, along with retail and hotel components. (Midway Rising/Safdie Rabines Architects)


Billionaire Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets, has joined as the majority investor a planned project in San Diego to replace an aging sports arena and develop much of the city-owned land around it with apartments, retail and other commercial elements.

The city said Monday that Denver-based Kroenke Group, a prominent nationwide sports and retail developer, is part of the mixed-use project known as Midway Rising with a team the city chose last year to redevelop the 56-year-old San Diego Sports Arena and nearly 50 acres of surrounding land about 5 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Midway Rising is among several projects around the country in recent years that have sought to feature sports venues as part of larger mixed-use commercial developments that serve as year-round generators of social and business activity.

Developers and San Diego officials did not disclose financial details of Kroenke’s investment. Midway Rising is expected to invest well over $1 billion in components including more than 4,200 apartments, with about half of those to be designated as affordable under regional income guidelines.

The project also calls for a 200-room hotel, retail and restaurant spaces, offices and 20 acres of parks and public plazas centered on a proposed 16,000-seat arena, with developers and the city in negotiations on specific components. The city has not formally decided whether the sports arena, built in 1966 at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., will be replaced or renovated, though the most recent renderings point to a new arena being developed.

Developers and the city are looking to redevelop the 56-year-old San Diego Sports Arena and nearly 50 acres of surrounding land. (CoStar)

Kroenke Group Managing Director Jason Gannon said in a statement the company’s investment “encompasses all aspects of the Midway Rising project.” Day-to-day redevelopment operations will remain spearheaded by original project partners including mixed-use developer Zephyr Partners, affordable housing developer Chelsea Investment Corp. and sports and entertainment arena operator Legends.

Gannon previously spearheaded Kroenke’s $5.5 billion development of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, home since 2020 to the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, along with the nearby Hollywood Park property where several mixed-use residential and commercial elements have been completed with more under construction by Kroenke’s company.

“The Midway Rising project will continue growing our investment in the Southern California region and we appreciate the city’s confidence in our joint vision with the existing project partners,” Gannon said in statement Monday on the San Diego project.

The city and developers are on track to reach a final ground lease agreement late next year after the city completes environmental and other reviews.

City officials see Midway Rising as key to helping San Diego boost its stock of much-needed affordable housing.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement Monday that the Kroenke Group’s addition to the development team “underscores that San Diego is a world-class city that can attract significant investment in projects and enterprises that elevate the community for all our residents.”

Citing documents that it reviewed, the San Diego Union-Tribune said Kroenke Group’s initial investment gives it a 90% stake in Midway Rising, which will increase to 95% when construction starts.

Billionaire Kroenke owns the NFL’s Rams and NBA’s Nuggets, along with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the MLS’s Colorado Rapids and the Arsenal Football Club of the English Premier League.

His company’s new involvement has spurred speculation in San Diego media that Midway Rising could eventually attract a major professional sports team, including potentially an NBA or NHL franchise.

Developers told local media Monday there are no negotiations underway to bring a new sports franchise to the San Diego venue.

San Diego Sports Arena is home to teams including the Gulls, a minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, along with the Seals of the National Lacrosse League and Strike Force of the Indoor Football League. It also hosts concerts and other community events.

The San Diego arena was the original home of the NBA’s Rockets before the team left for Houston in the early 1970s, and later the NBA’s Clippers before that team departed for Los Angeles in the early 1980s.

Midway Rising is planned for nearly 50 acres of city-owned property that now houses parking lots and aging strip retail centers near the city-owned sports arena in the Midway District neighborhood. City voters last year approved a ballot measure lifting a longtime 30-foot height limit for projects in the neighborhood.

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