Storytime on Broadway

Plans for towers 21- and 41-stories tall on blighted downtown block

Broadway, between Seventh and Eighth avenues
  • Broadway, between Seventh and Eighth avenues

Under review before Civic San Diego is a proposal to build two mixed-use towers downtown — one 21 stories and one 41 — on a blighted block along Broadway. The project, temporarily called “Broadway Block,” will occupy the full block bounded by C Street, Broadway, and Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Broadway Block preliminary design

Broadway Block preliminary design

Joseph Wong Design Associates

“Broadway Block Owner, LLC” is the applicant of record. The actual owner is real estate and investment company Zephyr Partners of Encinitas, which has built luxury residential properties in San Diego.

The project consists of 600 dwelling units, 960 parking spaces, and 22,000 square feet of commercial space. The towers will be about 440 and 220 feet tall. A seventh-level sky garden is planned, and also a 30th-level deck. Project architect is Joseph Wong Design Associates. The cost is estimated at more than $250 million.

Wahrenbrock's, we knew you too well (sniff)

Wahrenbrock's, we knew you too well (sniff)

On the north side of Broadway, between Seventh and Eighth avenues, businesses include Super Discount Food, a hair salon, two tattoo/piercing parlors, a rundown apartment building, and the long-closed Wahrenbrock's Book House. Other businesses in the block are mostly vacant now, some tagged with graffiti. On the west side of Seventh Avenue are Alexander Salazar Fine Art, Krisp Beverages + Natural Foods, and an Avis car rental outlet.

The project's notice of application to CivicSD indicates preliminary design review meetings are tentatively scheduled for June 8 and June 10 at the CivicSD offices at 401 B Street. Both of those are subcommittee meetings, to be followed by “a series of design review meetings with CivicSD and the Downtown Community Planning Council.” The final review takes place at a public hearing before the CivicSD board.

Gary Smith, president of San Diego Downtown Residents Group, said he had not yet seen the plans. "But full block, high rise is what works downtown, and more desirable than five-story monolithic blocks," Smith said.

The art gallery's Alexander Salazar said, "I have been waiting for six years now for something amazing to happen in this neighborhood. It is a sign of progress and future success for any business in the area."

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Sounds like a nice improvement to the area. High density downtown makes sense. Unfortunately, it will probably be unaffordable to most San Diegoans.

It definitely will be unaffordable to most writers like this one! ;-) But I don't think the pricing has been revealed yet.

Also, in lieu of not providing any affordable units, the developer will be paying a large fee to the city (which goes toward affordable housing projects).

600 dwelling units and 960 parking spaces? Are the parking spaces for all of the mixed use tenants or just the dwelling units? If for the dwelling units most of those who will be able to afford one of these high rise units will have more than one car.

Most of the parking will be for dwelling units. But their initial information doesn't say how many parking spaces will be available for shoppers at the retail stores on the street level. Perhaps they plan on valet parking. More should be revealed at the upcoming meetings. And this is where the public can weigh in, to offer their suggestions to CivicSD.

Funny way to try to force people to use more public transportation?

Well, perhaps. Plus many of those downtown residents will probably walk or bike to work. That IS the future, it seems: live close and get out of those cars.

Gary Smith of San Diego Downtown Residents Group, followed up with comments via email today: Having reviewed, we are opposed to the above ground exposed parking structure. No matter how well “screened” the constant lighting, intermittent lighting from headlights, noise from car alarms, door slamming etc. from just over 40 feet away is not acceptable; only fully encapsulated above ground parking is acceptable. The building, however, does respect the sun access criteria for the planned plaza to the northeast and contributes to the main street city feel on Broadway. We appreciate and accept this kind of massing and density in the urban core of San Diego. If curious about “encapsulated” parking, see buildings at southeast corner and southwest corner of Broadway and Kettner, both of which have above ground parking which is basically invisible and non intrusive to neighbors.

Some changes have been made to the design. Look closely to see them. You can expect more before they start construction.

June 2, 2017: The empty buildings on C street will get a colorful keyboard design soon. I saw a picture of the design today when I walked by. A Downtown San Diego Partnership employee said the "Broadway Block" project has been delayed.


by dwbat

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