Brown Field – Two Finalists for the Redevelopment

Saturday, July 28, 2007
Brown Field competitors speak on airport’s potential
The San Diego (CA) Daily Transcript

Two developer finalists for the redevelopment of Brown Field in Otay Mesa spoke at a meeting Thursday, but in the face of competition, kept most of their comments to themselves. Lydia Kennard of Airport Property Corp. and Richard Sax of Distinctive Projects Corp. represented the two potential renovators of Brown Field, South County’s municipal airport. “Macy’s doesn’t tell Gimble’s. Think of me as Macy’s, them as Gimble’s,” said Sax. “In some areas, my comments have to be kind of general.”

“We believe there will be significant development and post-development bonuses from this project,” Sax added. “Right now, anything that anyone would propose would, I hope, improve on our current condition.”

“You’re not going to hear from either one of us specifics because we’re still in the due diligence stage, we’re still finding as much information out about what may work,” Kennard said.

Kennard cited her experience managing Los Angeles County airports to validate her competence as a Brown Field developer.

The requests for proposals delineate at least 65 acres of the field’s 880 acres for redevelopment.

Alejandra Mier y Teran, executive director for the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, was not surprised by the lack of details from the guests.

“The purpose of the forum was really for the community to speak up, to give them ideas and state their vision on what they want to see at Brown Field,” she said. “We weren’t expecting them at this point to say. They’re still in a competitive process.”

The two companies will deliver their proposals on Oct. 1.

“It’s always very important to hear from the positive stakeholder,” Kennard said. “We’re going to certainly evaluate all of the comments, we will evaluate them as we put together proposals.”

Brown field has the longest runway of all of the county airports, excluding Lindberg Field. The airport increased its operations by 18,000 between 2005 and 2006, a 15 percent increase.

The city originally received six applications for the renovations, with one company disqualified almost immediately.

The hope is to raise the field to its full potential by phasing out all non-airport uses on the property, accommodating the airport for future demand, stimulating economic development in the area and maintaining financial self-sufficiency.

Infrastructures improvements will include pavement resurfacing, electricity and lighting improvements, and demolishing structures at an estimated cost of more than $22 million.

Almost three-quarters of Brown Field’s income is derived from non-aviation uses like salvage yards.

The project is expected to go to either Airport Property or Distinctive Projects in November, with the Otay Mesa Community Plan expected to be adopted in early 2008.

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