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Construction Begins On Landmark Airport Redevelopment Project at Brown Field

Rendering of Brown Field Municipal Airport

The City of San Diego is soaring into aviation history with a groundbreaking at Brown Field Municipal Airport today of the largest general aviation airport redevelopment project on the West Coast. Under a lease agreement with the City, San Diego Airpark, LLC, will construct state-of-the art aviation and commercial facilities, with the first buildings expected to be finished by the end of 2025.


“Today marks a significant, long-awaited milestone for Brown Field Airport, Otay Mesa and the entire San Diego region," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "The new San Diego Airpark will transform this underused airport into a hub of economic growth and employment, creating thousands of jobs and fostering international trade. This redevelopment project puts our public asset to work to drive progress and boost business and economic opportunities for all San Diegans.”


The 20-year project is anticipated to create approximately 2,500 new airport jobs and have a $1.5 billion economic impact on the San Diego region. Expected to be completed in four phases, the estimated cost of the first phase is $100 million and project costs will be covered by the developer, San Diego Airpark, LLC.


San Diego Airpark will be developed on 331 acres of land at Brown Field and will include a new fixed-base operator with a state-of-the-art terminal building that will house a new general aviation customs inspection facility. The project will also feature commercial hangars and new roads, a hotel and a restaurant.

“We are excited about how the San Diego Airpark project will play an important part in the economic growth of the City of San Diego and our region,” said Christina Bibler, Director of the City’s Economic Development Department (EDD). “Brown Field is changing, and the airport will be a catalyst for economic growth and employment.”


"It is an exciting time to be here at Brown Field," said Jorge Rubio, A.A.E., Deputy Director of EDD and Chief of Airports. "With the new San Diego Airpark project, we will make a tremendous impact on aviation and the economy domestically and internationally, while at the same time meeting the highest standards of comfort, convenience and efficiency for passengers, pilots and crewmembers."


Today, with over 80,000 flights in and out of the airport annually, Brown Field is a busy general aviation airport with many types of aircraft operating there including private, corporate, charter, air ambulance, law enforcement, fire rescue, flight training, cargo, skydiving, banner towing, airships and military. Brown Field, as a landing rights airport, also has a Customs and Border Protection General Aviation Inspection Facility and serves as the main port of entry for general aviation traffic flying into the United States on the West Coast.


The airport was initially named East Field in honor of Army Maj. Whitten J. East. It opened in 1918 when the U.S. Army established an aerial gunnery and aerobatics school to relieve congestion at North Island. In 1962, the Navy transferred ownership of Brown Field to the City of San Diego with the condition that it remains an airport for the use and benefit of the public.


The Federal Aviation Administration has classified Brown Field as a reliever airport for the San Diego International Airport. Over the next five years, Brown Field is slated to receive approximately $14.8 million in Federal Airport Capital Improvement Grant funding to pay for airfield infrastructure and security needs.