You can look at commercial district revitalization in two ways: The first way, which is the common way, and unfortunately not the best way, is to hatch a scheme to get rid of everything that is under-performing and replace it with something else. Bulldoze it, and start over with a blank slate. This approach to economic revitalization is the cornerstone of many well-intentioned plans — the wholesale replacement of entire existing commercial ecosystems. It is also an approach that values typical male attributes: valuing big, valuing new, valuing the deal. This is truly a shame since these districts often have wonderful businesses, owned by locals, which serve as non-traditional anchors pulling from wide trade areas. [Read more…] about What’s so feminine about good revitalization of a commercial district?
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated. [Read more…] about 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.
With the demise of redevelopment in California, some cities are looking for creative ways to stay solvent. One idea is to leverage New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to buy properties and become landlords. This acquisition fund concept was recently adopted by Civic San Diego (CivicSD), a nonprofit corporation that is a consultant to the city of San Diego on the wind-down of redevelopment. [Read more…] about Beware of Wall Street Schemes on Redevelopment
City of San Diego Planning Director Bill Fulton, one of the most respected planning minds in the country, will speak at Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County on May 30th, 2014. Its at the Marina Village Conference Center (Captain’s Room) 1936 Quivira Way San Diego, CA 92109 Friday, May 30, 2014, 9 – 11 a.m., $10 (Continental breakfast included). Please register and pay by May 23rd at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BKML3TK
Last night was the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s (SDAF) first “Context” event, which featured a discussion between Darlene Shiley, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, and Robert Wellington Quigley about the process that brought the new Central Library to fruition, and its implication for future civic projects in San Diego. [Read more…] about SDAF First ‘Context’ Event, with Jacobs, Shiley, and Quigley, Enjoyable and Enlightening
As Yogi Berra used to say, “it is déjà vu all over again,” or better yet, “when you come to the fork in the road, take it.” In its history, Los Angeles has come to the fork in the road and made some very poor choices. [Read more…] about Swung on and Missed
About a year and a half ago I left California to come to Texas. After spending over 25 years as an urban designer in the GoldenState, it was time to pack up and go. The writing was on the wall prior to my leaving in 2011. The end of Redevelopment to balance the State budget was the final blow. [Read more…] about Urban Design Centers and Healthier Communities
What is one of the first things I consider when I’m working in a mixed-use district, whether I’m helping private sector developers strategize acquisitions, or diagnosing and suggesting improvements to an economically underperforming city?
San Diego – the La Cusma apartments building is nearing completion in Little Italy on the Northeast corner of Columbia Street and Fir Street, one block west of I-5. The architect for the project is Carrier Johnson and the developer is “Columbia Street, LLC.” [Read more…] about La Cusma apartments at Columbia & Fir in Little Italy near completion
They say that everything old is new again. It looks like that adage might be true for a rundown, four-story building at 735 S. Broadway, according to blogdowntown.com. Developers recently filed permits to alter the top three floors of the 100-year-old structure to make way for six live-work units, according the the blog. [Read more…] about Historic Building Set to Get Facelift