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Redevelopment plan for Brown Field moves forward

Brown Field Municipal Airport will undergo a major transformation over the next 20 years, as a redevelopment project was approved by the San Diego City Council on Monday.

The City Council, with Interim Mayor Todd Gloria absent from the meeting, unanimously approved a lease agreement with developer Brown Field International Business Park LLC and a master plan to develop aviation and non-aviation facilities and amenities on 331 acres of the 881-acre airport in Otay Mesa.

“Moving this $1 billion project forward is a win for all of San Diego,” Councilman David Alvarez said. The project is in his district.

Approximately 810,000 square feet is proposed for executive jet aviation and helicopter fixed-based operations that would include an airport maintenance building and related support facilities, hangars, tie-downs and a fuel station. The aviation facilities would be equipped with solar roof panels.

The proposed construction project also calls for an 8- to 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic energy generation facility; an industrial park; office space; an 11,000-square-foot restaurant; two hotels totaling 270 rooms; and a public transit station.

Construction and development of the Metropolitan Airpark project will occur on the north and south ends of the airport. The project is divided into four phases of development over a 20-year period, with each phase anticipated to take five years.

During the roughly one-hour public comment period on Monday, those who had issues with the project said they were concerned that the developer was not going to pay Facilities Benefit Assessment fees because of the way the contract was written. City attorney staff assured council the developer would be subject to developmental impact fees in this case.

Environmental concerns on vernal pool restoration and local habitat preservation were also brought up by the public. The city staff report on the project shows the project meets the California Environmental Quality Act. The project includes a stipulation that a wetland buffer be maintained as appropriate to protect the functions and values of the wetlands.

Those in favor of the project -- including the Associated Builders and Contractors, Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the South County Economic Development Council -- cited both temporary and permanent jobs the project is slated to create.

According to a city staff report, Brown Field International Business Park LLC, says the project would create approximately 8,000 temporary jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs over the estimated 20-year build-out.

“I’m pleased that every member of the City Council shares my vision for economic development on Otay Mesa,” Alvarez said. “This project is one more step toward making Otay Mesa the economic engine for good-paying jobs in San Diego throughout the 21st century.”

In 2009, the council authorized the mayor to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Brown Field International Business Park LLC to further discuss a development at Brown Field. The proposed Metropolitan Airpark project is a result of that agreement.

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