Dozens of Businesses in San Diego Evicted to Make Way For New Developments

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: May 19, 2024

A redevelopment project coming to town is evicting business owners from their current locations in the Otay Mesa community in San Diego.

The town is forcing dozens of businesses to relocate to make way for an airport that the city says will provide economic benefits to the community and create more job opportunities.

Business Owners Were Told to Leave 

Business owners in Otay Mesa say they were told to leave without warning earlier this month. “May 10th, we were here minding our business, doing our installations, and all of a sudden the sheriff came and shut our whole operation down,” said Alfredo Garcia, the co-owner of Heritage Auto Glass to NBC 7 San Diego.

Black and White License Plate

Source: lil artsy/Pexels

These business owners were given little time to gather their belongings and find a new space to work.

Business Owners Didn’t Have Much Time to Leave

“We did bring out the most important things,” Garcia said. “Our forklifts and stuff, and after that our communication systems like phones and a desk and paperwork, and after that, they put the chains and that’s it.”

Jim Banford from Real Estate Asset Disposition corp. looks at the Sheriffs eviction notice posted on the front door of the foreclosed property his company is trying to resell April 9, 2008 in Jupiter, Florida. As the number of foreclosures mount due to the downturn in the economy companies such as Jim Branford's are having to deal with homes that have been foreclosed on and are in need of repair. Some of the foreclosed homes he gets have been stripped of plumbing or the former owners take the fixtures. This hurts the resale value of the homes as well as the value of the homes around it.

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Garcia and other business owners are trying to shift their operations to a new location.

San Diego's Response to the Accusations

According to the City of San Diego, this eviction follows a multi-year public-private partnership to redevelop BrownField Airport.

San Diego skyline from the water at night

Source: Justin Brown/Flickr

This airport will “include the construction of state-of-the-art commercial and aviation facilities,” the city staff says in the statement to NBC 7.

The Tenants Were Not Supposed to be There

The city also clarified that they did not evict tenants without warning, stating that they informed the leaseholder of the redevelopment plans and the eventual need to vacate the property as early as 2019.

This image captures an aerial view of a dense residential neighborhood stretching towards the edge of a calm blue ocean

Source: Clayton Cardinalli/Unsplash

The landlord terminated the lease agreement in May 2022 to allow redevelopment plans to proceed. However, the lease owner ceased responding to the city.

The Project Promises More Jobs

“This project will serve as a gateway for international trade and will provide economic benefits to the community and create sustainable jobs,” the city says.

A CGI rendering of the future Brown Field Airport in San Diego, CA

Source: Otay Mesa

Additional development includes more than a million square feet of commercial and industrial buildings and a new hotel with restaurants.


Expanding the Community

The project, which will encompass 331 acres, will build a new Fixed Base Operator terminal building, individual airplane hangars, and new roads in the community over a 20-year phase.

An overview of the land where the future Brown Field Airport will be

Source: Otay Mesa

This agreement is in partnership with Aero-Abre, which had subleased to tenants for storage space on the property.


City Pursed Legal Action

The city took legal action against the master leaseholder to evict the remaining tenants, who lacked authorization to use the property due to the absence of a legally binding agreement between the leaseholder and the property owner.

A judge's gavel rests on its sounding block on a wooden surface, with a person in the background


“Occupants who had been leasing space from the master leaseholder are being notified directly and notice will continue over the course of the next six weeks,” the city says.


City Lends a Helping Hand to Business Owners

“If the occupants are not able to move their property by the date listed on the eviction notices, they can contact city airport staff and arrange for the removal of their property,” the city adds.

A woman with black nails, wearing a ring talks on an iphone cell phone.

Source: Taylor Grote/Unsplash

The city is also providing a phone number with the notices delivered to the occupants.


The Future of the Brown Field Airport

The city of San Diego’s long-term project to redevelop BrownField Airport could have a massive impact on the community of Otay Mesa following Air Center San Diego’s acquisition of San Diego Jet Center’s FBO assets.

CGI Airpark in Otay Mesa for the Brown Field Airport

Source: Otay Mesa

This acquisition encompasses all FBO facilities, including the main terminal building, from which Air Center San Diego has commenced providing FBO services.


Expanding San Diego’s Community

“We are so excited and grateful to welcome San Diego Jet Center’s knowledgeable, reliable team members to the Air Center family,” said Brittany Favero, customer service manager of Air Center San Diego.

General view of downtown San Diego and San Diego Bay on July 04, 2023

Source: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

“Their contributions are pivotal in facilitating a smooth transition to the Air Center brand. We look forward to modernization and streamlined approaches while keeping intact the commitment to customer satisfaction that defines the operation.”


The Perks of an Upgraded Airport

Californians and other flyers will continue to have access to all services, including ground handling, transportation, U.S. Customs, and other specialized requests as this project continues to grow.”

A large plane without windows sits on the tarmac at sunset

Source: Freepik

“This airport could offer a wide range of benefits for many customers, making it a perfect place for those flying into the southern part of San Diego.”