UC San Diego coming to downtown

UC San Diego coming to downtown

UC San Diego will lease the building shown in the foreground

A couple posts back I listed several new mixed-use projects planned for downtown.  Last week’s news that UC San Diego will lease and improve the four-story building set for the Park & Market project was a pleasant surprise – of the 35 largest U.S. metros, San Diego is the only one “lacking a major public or private university campus location within, or adjacent to, the central business district boundary.”  While this isn’t an entire campus, having a significant UC presence downtown is a big positive for San Diego – enabling potential collaboration between the university and private companies nearby.  

The downtown outpost will connect to main campus via the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley.  As a UCSD employee in a department that’s evaluating offsite work options, the downtown location would be a short MTS Rapid Bus ride away, and much closer than main campus. 

There’s plenty of change happening on the main La Jolla campus too – trolley line construction has begun, which will require a move of 6th College from the Pepper Canyon area to the (current) giant surface parking lots north of Muir College:

Both the 6th College rendering above and the trolley/pedestrian connection to campus can be seen in this flyover simulation

– In Mission Hills, the business district there has posted a video of the Jonathan Segal mixed-use project The Fort, located at Hawk & Ft. Stockton.  It features an “8-story mixed-use building with 20-residential units (3 Very Low Income housing units) and 6-offices”:

Fort Stockton – The Fort – Teaser Video

Even though it’s located in front of the only tall building in Mission Hills – the senior housing tower put up by the feds back in the 1970’s (along with similar towers on Park Blvd. in North Park and downtown) – the 90-foot tall building sure seems like a stretch for a community where many residents were apoplectic over the five-story Mission One building.  Despite Mission Hills being located just minutes from downtown, in a metro of 3.3 million people creating 37,000 new jobs a year, the wealthy homeowners of neighborhood NIMBY organizations Save our Heritage and Mission Hills Heritage say traffic and street parking concerns trump safer streets and housing for others.    

When asked for examples of new construction built under MHH’s now-dead Interim Height Ordinance, MHH Director Barry Hager famously cited the Snooze AM building on 5th Avenue – which contains a total of zero residences.  MHH’s long-winded 25-page comment (p. 53) to the Uptown Community Plan Update was largely (and rightfully) ignored by the city council, because land costs in Uptown are simply too high to build housing at the lower height limits and downzoning MHH advocates.

Research shows the exclusionary zoning promoted by these residents reduces productivity and makes the poor poorer, while their “opportunity hoarding sharpens the divisions between ordinary and upper middle class Americans”:

Culturally, homeowners clamor to preserve what they regard as the “character” of their communities, by which they mean things like traffic, and the race and social status of their neighbors.

In addition, these residents worsen sprawl by pushing new housing far away from jobs.  When Mission Hills Heritage was called out on this by, of all people, the conservative Union Tribune editorial board back in 2008, their responses predictably dodged the question.  Eight years later, nothing has changed – except new visualization tools showing the sea level rise resulting from these policies:

Much of downtown San Diego, including the airport, will be underwater under a minimum global warming scenario

– Despite its Climate Action Plan and housing affordability crisis, San Diego still requires developers to include costly off-street parking downtown (unlike many other cities).  F11, a 7-story, 99-unit mixed-use project coming to F and Park is the latest example of an expensive subterranean dig, despite being located near a jobs center and multiple transit options – including the trolley and 2 new rapid bus lines:

F11 will feature “a multi-level subterranean parking garage with space for 103 vehicles, recreational amenities and 5,841 square feet of ground-floor retail space.”

– In Bankers Hill, The Park at Palm and 5th/6th has topped out.  It was scheduled for completion in early 2017, but that might be pushing it given its current state:

– At Adams and Bancroft in Normal Heights, Frank Auto Repair has been demolished for a 3-story, 11-unit mixed-used project:

Just west of there, across 805, Tajima has opened next door to Et Voila, and El Zarape has opened in the former Casa Adams location:

Yes they have the $1 fish tacos the Park Boulevard location is famous for.

– Stick a fork in Hillcrest, it’s done – S&M is the latest casualty in a declining neighborhood: 

…while the owner of recently-shuttered Salt and Cleaver notes Hillcrest’s slumping economy and the likely reason:

“Unfortunately, as of late we’ve observed what is hopefully just a temporary slump in the Hillcrest economy — perhaps it’s a lack of new developments.”


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