San Diego’s Manchester Financial Group, in partnership with Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate based in Bethesda, Maryland will soon start negotiating with the Navy for the redevelopment of the 70.3-acre NAVWAR site along Interstate 5 near the San Diego International Airport.
A firm timeline has yet to be set for the project, but Manchester/Edgemoor were chosen by the U.S. Navy as the potential master developer to revitalize the Naval Base Point Loma Old Town Campus, known as NAVWAR, as home of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.
“The Manchester/Edgemoor team is committed to working closely with the Navy and the City of San Diego to deliver the next generation of elite government facilities for the Navy and broader community,” said Ted Eldredge, president and CEO of Manchester Financial Group.
The next step is for the Navy to work with Manchester/Edgemoor on a formal agreement on how to proceed and what the work would entail.
“We can’t say for certain how long the process will take,” said Christine Tuomey Lewellyn, Edgemoor director of creative strategy.
Details were hard to come by because the process is covered by non-disclosure agreements, but Navy officials indicated that they would work with Manchester/Edgemoor on multiple options for private development of the site as well as a new NAVWAR developed solely by the military.
A 2021 draft environmental impact statement outlined five possibilities for the redevelopment, including what it designated as a preferred plan, that would transform the property into a mini-city with 10,000 apartment and condominium units, creating a new skyline.
Work on a final environmental report was suspended pending selection of a master developer and public requests for more detailed information on the overall project, according to Caitlin Ostomel, director of public affairs for Commander Navy Region Southwest.
The Manchester/Edgemoor team includes Clark Construction Group as design-builder, HKS as the designer for the government structures, HOK as master planner and designer for the private development, and Dealy Development for permitting.
Manchester Financial Group in 2020 built a $212 million headquarters for the Navy along the San Diego Bayfront and has built multiple hotel and commercial projects in San Diego County, including the Manchester Grand Hotel and the San Diego Marriott Marquis downtown and the Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
The NAVWAR development would be Edgemoor’s first San Diego project, but Lewellyn said that the firm maintains a San Diego presence downtown in the Procopio Tower.
“The scale of this project is very exciting, but our strength is in public-private partnerships,” Lewellyn said. “We’ve done projects all over the country.”
With more than $4.6 billion in projects completed or under development, including a $1.5 billion terminal at Kansas City International Airport and the $513 million Long Beach Civic Center.
The new NAVWAR would replace a collection of World War II-era hangars that have outlived their usefulness.
“This is another step toward a win-win outcome for NAVWAR and the City of San Diego,” NAVWAR Commander Rear Admiral Doug Small said.
“We need secure, safe, and modern facilities for our world-class workforce in order to keep pace with our growing mission requirements – delivering and sustaining information warfare capabilities for the fleet and our partners around the world,” Small said.
NAVWAR contributes about $3.5 million annually to the San Diego economy, generating an estimated 29,000 jobs.
Mayor Todd Gloria, in a December tour of the NAVWAR site, said that its revitalization “represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
“This project is a big part of how the city is reimagining itself to tackle housing affordability, expand economic opportunity and do it all sustainably,” Gloria said.
Manchester Financial Group
Headquarters: Bankers Hill
Chairman: Doug Manchester
Business: commercial real estate development
Notable: Manchester Financial has developed more than 6 million square feet of projects in San Diego County
Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate
Headquarters: Bethesda, MD
President: Neal Fleming
Business: real estate development and investment
Notable: Edgemoor has $4.6 billion in projects completed or under development