Arena builders

San Diego’s sports arena: 5 teams looking to remake it

ConAm Group, a 47-year-old real estate developer that has built more than 16,000 units in the United States, offers a city within a city, inspired by Little Italy, where dozens of apartment buildings with commercial spaces on the ground floor floors produce a wealth of activity at street level.

Called Neighborhood Next, the plan is the group’s most ambitious housing plan. The San Diego-based team – ConAm is partnered with Malick Infill Development and affordable housing builders Community Housing Works and Wakeland Housing & Development Corp. – wants to build 5,400 units in buildings of varying heights and designs, where pocket parks and open spaces in a GreenLine promenade that runs the length of the project and transports people from the eastern edge of the property to ‘at the San Diego River.

At least 25% of the units, or 1,350 apartments, will be reserved for families earning less than 80% of the region’s median income.

Although the proposed housing density is rare outside of downtown San Diego, Neighborhood Next believes the European-inspired model is not only appropriate for plots in the Midway District, but also essential in a city where creative of greater supply is a top priority for city leaders. The homes are meant to work in concert with 300,000 square feet of retail and office space, a dedicated community building that could house a school or library, and a 125-room hotel.

The group does not have an arena developer attached to its plan, but it is working with Crossroads Consulting and has narrowed down its proposal to a single scenario that calls for a complete renovation of the existing 16,000 seat arena.

“Neighborhood Next is designed by some of the world’s top planners as a blueprint for a future San Diego where housing is feasible and we live more sustainably,” said Zach Adams, senior vice president of development for ConAm Group. “This includes big, new ideas on things that matter, like solving the housing crisis, taking bold climate action, encouraging ridership on public transit, providing an inspiring arena, and creating more opportunities for San Diegans to afford to live in this big city.”