How California is leveraging sports arenas for more housing

In summary

To help alleviate the state’s housing shortage, California recently began tracking publicly owned lots that could be turned into affordable homes. In its first year, the state housing agency has cited two major sports arenas—Angel Stadium in Anaheim and Pechanga Arena in San Diego—for cutting backroom development deals with developers that shortchanged the public on affordable units. The agency is now investigating Oakland Coliseum in Oakland.

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Anaheim, San Diego and Oakland are all hoping to give their sports arenas a boost by giving the surrounding real estate a makeover. In high-gloss renderings, developers promise walkable, transit-friendly cityscapes featuring housing, hotels, shops and restaurants with plenty of inviting green space. To borrow from “Field of Dreams,” if you build it they will come. And these cities are wagering the improvements will be enough to get professional sports teams to stay. 

There’s just one problem on the road to revitalization: In the eyes of the state, these projects haven’t included enough affordable housing.