East Village: Fringe no moreReal Estate Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Fashions come and go, as do housing trends. Once folks left their urban environments and flowed into suburban green zones. Today the traffic is in the opposite direction, from the suburbs back to metropolitan centers rife with places to go and things to do.
A recent Nielsen report on trends reflecting millennials found just that. This group is fond of mixed use communities where housing is intermingled with stores, restaurants and service businesses. Activity is no longer shunned, and proximity is prized over serenity.
This trend offers an opportunity for communities down on their luck, or replete with a mixture of industrial and commercial properties, to be redeveloped into thriving live-work communities. This fate has befallen East Village, actually the largest urban neighborhood in downtown San Diego, located east of the Gaslamp quarter.
Formerly an area comprised of warehouses and vacant lots, it has gradually come into a new era. The establishment of Petco Park in 2004 led to the introduction of now trendy cafes and shops. Thus began the transformative process we are so familiar with. Trendy shops, small businesses and artists begin to lift a community out of its doldrums and before long, developers are scoping out sites for development.
Such is now the case with several mixed use developments in the planning stages. Holland Partner Group out of Washington State is now underway with Form 15, a mixed use project featuring 242 residences, 10,000 square feet of retail and 249 parking spaces on 15th and Market Streets in East Village. The same company has purchased a second site in the area at Park Boulevard and Market.
Another player, Cisterra Development, is also working on a future project in East Village at 7th and Market, this an even larger profile. The numbers are impressive and this project is definitely a mixed bag. It will be composed of 39 stories, 115 market rate and 32 affordable units, 58 luxury condominium units, a 160 room Ritz Carlton hotel, a 40,000 square feet gourmet grocery, restaurants and retail and nearly 1,000 parking spaces. A 156,000 square foot office tower is also in the mix.
As East Village and the entire downtown transitions to luxury housing and trendy shops, echoes of a down and out past still persist. You have the Pinnacle Condos, a major housing development of 2-45 story towers comprising 956 apartments coexisting with a tent community of homeless people just blocks away. This is the unhappy and unfortunate aspect to urban development.
Hopefully, the city of San Diego will find a way to house both the urbanized millennials and the unfortunate individuals being uprooted to make way for stylish and costly housing. A program called Clean and Safe has a homeless outreach coordinator on board to facilitate the needs of the forgotten, and is funded by fees from property owners.
Gentrification of East Village and downtown in general is here to stay. The area is becoming a vibrant place for young people to live and play, with amenities, homes, offices woven together with both rental and condominium housing. The population in East Village is sure to soar over its recent 10,000, with many more visiting to sample the new businesses. San Diego has a new playground indeed.
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