13th & market

5 Mar
2012

- The public review period for the Plaza de Panama project in Balboa Park has been extended to March 22nd. From Uptown News:

Comments may be submitted in writing to the City via U.S. Mail and e-mail to the San Diego Development Services Center Environmental Planner. The mailing address is 1222 First Avenue, MS 501, San Diego, CA 92101. The e-mail address is DSDEAS@sandiego.gov. The deadline for submitting comments is 5 p.m. Copies of the document are also available at the Downtown Central Library, located at 820 E St., and the North Park Branch Library located at 3795 31st St.

The project’s bypass bridge is completely unnecessary and will have a significant negative impact on the park’s quality. Several alternatives exist to the “concrete urbanization” of Balboa Park – help stop this project by contributing to the public review.

- It was another warm winter weekend, perfect for a ride around downtown and the harbor. On my way down there I noticed the parking lot across from Albertsons in East Village at 13th and Market is no more – construction has begun on a 6-story Carrier Johnson residential/commercial project there (current image followed by rendering):




Carrier Johnson designed the new urban village at the northwest corner of UCSD. Too bad some of the more bold design elements of that project, or the many others on their website, didn’t make it into the East Village site.

Construction has begun on the revamp of Gaslamp Square Park at Harbor and 5th Avenue downtown. According to this document, there will be trees, benches, a historic plaque, MTS kiosks and five-globe Gaslamp lights.





There’s also work afoot at Ruocco Park at the northwest end of Seaport Village:





There’s a recent construction update for the project on the Port of San Diego’s website, which also details the sculpture artist Roman de Salvo’s is creating for the park. City Beat had a good writeup on the installation a couple weeks ago. It will stand in sharp contrast to the ridiculous kissing sailor and nurse “Unconditional Surrender” statue that towers just to the north. Unfortunately that piece had its life extended yet again recently and could continue its residency permanently as a bronze version.

It’s hard not to come off as a snob when criticizing “Unconditional Surrender” – it honors the Navy, tourists love it, and so do a lot of San Diegans. But I’ll take the bait: there might not be a better example of our city’s cultural shortcomings than the fact that this “shlock” (Port Chairman Lou Smith’s description) was ever allowed to grace our waterfront (OK, maybe the giant wedding rings that used to live by the airport). Is this an urban/civic setting, or Disneyland? Fortunately the Port has initiated a public art curatorial strategy with input from volunteer visual arts professionals that should produce creative and unique pieces, from its artist-in-residency and commissioned artist teams.

Heading north, construction has begun just south of Broadway on the Embarcadero makeover. The widening of the pedestrian/cycling area here will be a huge improvement – it was a struggle to get through this narrow area Saturday that was packed with visitors and residents, while parked cars took up valuable waterfront real estate.




Across the street, work has begun on the County Administration building’s park and water feature.

Heading down Harbor, we noticed the signage change for the Continental-United merger. Flying out on United? Make sure you check both terminal signs while driving, and pray that you can read the small print while a cabbie rides your rear bumper (flights to Newark and Houston depart from terminal 2).






 

Over in Point Loma, we took a ride break at Mitch’s Seafood and devoured their always-awesome fish tacos and fish and chips, then marveled at the huge balcony on the new Point Loma Seafoods building nearby. They’re operating in a temporary location next door until the remodel is done:




Heading home, I took a picture of the empty lot where one of the new St. Paul’s Cathedral condo buildings are going in on 5th Ave:




That lot south of Nutmeg will have a 13-story building, while the current St. Paul’s lot will have a new 15-story building added. Both will feature retail space – more Bankers Hill restaurant options someday?

Lastly, after languishing for years as the failed Spectrum Terrace project, this complex perched on the hill at Polk and Georgia in North Park is finally just about done:




Justin says:

What an embarrassment it is that the kissing sculpture will be here for another year. Yeah, we get it, San Diego has a naval history but isn’t the humungous USS Midway museum enough of a reminder? And really, another bronze sculpture? Like the one of Alonzo Horton at Horton Plaza or Kate Sessions at Balboa Park? The addition of a permanent bronze of “Unconditional Surrender” only adds to this city’s reputation as boring, predictable and unprogressive. On the opposite end, why can’t we have more thought provoking public art like “Fallen Star” piece at UCSD?

I’m so tired of the “safe” theory that this city has lived by for so long. It’s time to change directions and move forward and away from the navy, conservative, bland reputation that San Diego can’t seem to shake. Sorry for the rant.

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