By Noli Zosa
One of Linda Vista’s most treasured institutions may go away. Civic San Diego, an agency of the city government, has sold the property and lot that Skateworld, the last roller skating rink in all of San Diego, has occupied since 1954.
The city brought the property in 2000. The Skateworld building has a historical designation with the city’s Historic Resources Board.
Civic San Diego placed the property for sale in early 2018 and conducted two rounds of bidding to acquire the property. It was a closed bidding process as mandated by the state of California. The criterion that Civic San Diego would use is the “highest and best use for the property.” Skateworld’s owner and investor were one of those bidders.
In the end, Pacific Companies won the rights to purchase the property. Thereafter, they presented plans to the owners of Skateworld, Gary Stang and his family, to convert the property into a big box retail store.
When word got out into the Linda Vista community about the sale, response was overwhelming to save Skateworld. An online petition has garnered over 15,000 signatures. The Linda Vista Planning Group unanimously voted to write a letter to all City Council members to send the matter back to Civic San Diego so that there could be community input on what should be considered the best use for the property.
As chairman of the Linda Vista Planning Group, I feel that if Civic San Diego is going to consider the highest and best use for the property, there should have been plenty of community input on how this very valuable piece of property should be utilized. This is not just a treasured Linda Vista asset, but also a valued regional asset where families come from all over San Diego to enjoy affordable family entertainment. Another big box retail store is not the best use for the property. This plan would have a devastating impact on the minority-owned small businesses located right next to Skateworld.
Approval of the sale of the Skateworld Property to Pacifica Companies is scheduled to go in front of San Diego City Council on March 18.
—Noli Zosa is board chair of the Linda Vista Planning Group. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.