The long vacant ground floor of the TR Produce Building (888 J Street) may finally receive an occupant under a proposal before Civic San Diego. However, because the prospective tenant is primarily an office use rather than a retail use, it will require a conditional use permit (CUP) subject to certain findings being made. The prospective tenant, Underground Elephant, “focusses on providing enterprise marketing software solutions to companies. . .” The company has 85 – 90 employees and is currently located in 600 B Street. To mitigate its non-conforming use, Underground Elephant proposes a “Coffee bar” at the front of business, which will be open to the public. Continue Reading TR Produce Creative Space Proposal Another Example of City Council’s Folly in Approving Demolition of Other Creative Space.
The Urban Discovery School, currently located in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego, is proposing a move to a new location in downtown’s East Village. The project involves some welcome adaptive reuse and will allow the school to grow to 450 students. The school’s is nearing the end of its term at its current location. The new site is owned by the San Diego Community College District. Urban Discovery School has negotiated a 99 year lease which will go to the College District Board for approval on April 17, 2014. The site is the block bounded by 13th & 14th Avenues and E & F Streets, near the planned Village Green park. The Civic San Diego staff report summarizes the project as follows:
A revised Pinnacle project for 11th & Broadway is in design review at Civic San Diego. The main difference seems to be that the developer now proposes to relocate (by 50′) the historically designated Hamilton Apartments rather than demolish them as had been previously approved by the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) in 2012. An act of enlightenment and altruism, or an act pragmatism (i.e. to avoid litigation or utilize tax credits)? The Civic San Diego staff report doesn’t say. In any case, preserving historical resources and adaptively reusing existing structures can only be a good thing for downtown’s diversities of architecture, people, and uses. The staff report to the Civic San Diego Real Estate Committee summarizes the project: Continue Reading Revised 11th & Broadway Pinnacle Project in Design Review – San Diego
The street I live on is only two blocks long, lined with Victorian houses. It’s in about the geographic center of San Francisco, There are street trees and front yards (unusual for San Francisco) and in the spring it smells of Jasmine. The neighbors are a mix of old-timers and gentry, gay and not, with lots of kids. Across the street, three households have joined their backyards so the kids have more play space.Continue Reading The Street I Live On
The smallish gap (75′ wide) between the Andaz Hotel and the Jewelers’ Exchange Building, now being used as a parking lot, may be developed with a Fairfield Inn hotel tower. More precisely, the site is midblock on the east side of 6th Avenue between E & F Streets. The proposal is now in the early design phase.Continue Reading Fairfield Inn to provide “real infill” in Downtown San Diego
A recent article by John Karras, founder of consulting firm UrbanSCALE, offered “12 Strategies That Will Transform Your City’s Downtown.” The article was a good selection of the many revitalization strategies, and addressed some important sticking points, e.g., transitioning from auto-orientation and healing the gashes created by the the last half century of urban freeway construction. One or two of the strategies are still-controversial or not widely accepted, e.g., eliminating minimum parking requirements (even imposing maximum parking restrictions), which made the article even more of a worthwhile read. Moreover, Continue Reading How San Diego’s Downtown Scores on 12 Point ‘Vibrant Downtown Strategies’ Test
In this age of planning emphasis on “smart growth,” “new urbanism,” “transit oriented development,” “infill development” and so on, density and proximity to transit corridors sometimes overshadow all other considerations. Zoning and Community plans years in the making, with wide participation, are now being viewed by some property owners and city officials as obsolete and vulnerable. Local residents are increasingly resentful as they experience frontal assaults to the scale and character of their neighborhoods – the essence of how they identify with their neighborhoods. Continue Reading Three Reasons Neighborhood Identity is Paramount in Smart Growth
As I occasionally do, today I used Car2Go for a mid-day meeting. I took the trolley to work. I had a meeting in Mission Valley but not near the trolley Line.
Continue Reading Car Share: Bridge to Greater Transit Use for Car Lovin’ Southern California?
Real walkable neighborhoods[i] are in such demand today that they are creating a real estate frenzy[ii] in older walkable cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The reason for the frenzy is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand for Walkable Urbanism[iii] is increasingly outstripping the supply and this situation seems to be getting worse.Continue Reading Desirable Walkable Neighborhoods: How we lost them, why we don’t create new ones, and what we need to do to start.