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When the Ballpark Village Project is built near downtown’s Petco Park, it will not be just another massive retail, office and residential high-rise complex. It will be built to strict environmental standards, will include more than the usual amount of affordable housing and will provide job training programs for residents of the area. Plus, everyone working in the complex will be guaranteed a living wage.
Why is this development bringing such good to the community? Because back in 2005 the Center on Policy Initiatives convened a coalition of 27 housing, labor, community, environmental, and religious groups – called ACCORD (A Community Coalition for Responsible Development) — to pressure the developer. ACCORD negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement with developer JMI/Lennar, setting out all the above requirements and more. In return, the community groups did not oppose the project before the City Council, which approved it in October 2005.
The comprehensive agreement sets a precedent that will influence future development in San Diego.
The benefits include:
- Requirements for environmentally-friendly design standards (LEED) and construction practices;
- Living wages for employees of service contractors at the project;
- A local hiring program for construction employees, permanent employees, and service workers at the project;
- Responsible contracting requirements;
- $1.5 million for job training of local residents;
- Affordable housing obligations going beyond the city’s requirements;
- Commitment to attract a grocery store operator who pays living wages and benefits;
- $100,000 in funding for a gentrification study of the impact of downtown development on surrounding communities; and
- $50,000 in funding for arts, youth, and culture services in the surrounding communities.