OCEANSIDE — The developer of a new 7,500-seat arena to be built in El Corazon Park now owns the land where the arena will be built.
During the May 5 council meeting, the Oceanside City Council approved a request by Sudberry Development, Inc. to purchase the land where the new indoor arena and future home of the San Diego Sockers will be located.
Council also approved Sudberry’s request to purchase the land being used for the development of a 268-unit, mixed-use apartment complex with 4,464 square feet of for-lease commercial space, as well as a ground lease agreement for a 7.2-acre parcel of land to be used for the arena’s parking lot.
The parking lot will include 638 spaces, with 150 to be designated for city-exclusive use, 100 exclusive to the arena and 388 shared parking spaces. The agreement also included using the already existing SoCal Sports Complex, also owned by Sudberry, to be used as extra parking for the arena on an as-needed basis.
Sudberry had rights to buy the commercial land it was developing in El Corazon Park according to its Disposition and Development Agreement that was unanimously approved by Council in 2013.
The developer does not have the right to purchase any recreational land and they are not requesting to do so at this time.
In late 2020, the city entered an agreement with Keyser Marston & Associates (KMA) to analyze the developer’s request to buy the land. Through that analysis, it was found that the city would make about $984,000 annually from the arena and mixed-use residential projects.
KMA also found that construction of the projects would add a $5.5 million value to the property, and annual operations of both the arena and the residential space would generate nearly $40 million in economic output, $15.2 million in annual payroll and add 263 full-time equivalent employees within the county.
Several residents expressed their concerns over Sudberry’s request to purchase the land it’s developing at the council meeting.
Diane Nygaard, of Friends of El Corazon, said though she doesn’t want to see the land sold, she understands that the developer’s request is in compliance with its agreement with the city. Her top concern right now is the creation of a “grand promenade” in the park, which is an idea included in the El Corazon Specific Plan.
Sudberry agreed to develop the grand promenade and plans to do so in the future but not at this time due to the desired location of the promenade running right through the current location of the SoCal Sports Complex’s temporary parking lot.
Joan Bockman, president of Friends of El Corazon, wants to see the city focus on more park uses than adding buildings and parking lots to the park. She asked the city to consider dedicating all of the remaining parklands to park uses and to finish all of the pedestrian bicycle trail connections throughout the space.
“We want you to think of this as our 100-year park,” Bockman said.
According to Vicki Gutierrez, the city is currently working on the second phase of installing trails throughout El Corazon Park.
Council approved the purchase and ground lease requests in a 4-1 vote with Mayor Esther Sanchez opposed.
Sanchez wanted to see public workshops for the project like it did with the new Mission Pacific and Seabird Resort hotels build on the city’s beachfront.
Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim agreed that the city should have had workshops for this project. He approved of the purchase and lease requests with the condition that the city designates Park Site 1 in El Corazon, located next to where the arena will be, as parkland and also updating the park’s financial plan.
The city-exclusive and shared spaces in the parking lot that Sudberry intends to develop will service Park Site 1.
Development Services Director Jonathan Borrego told Council that staff was already planning on updating the park’s financial plan, which was created to fund the development of the park.