San Diego is reinventing itself as a global tech center. Just look at Downtown.

San Diego is reinventing itself as a global tech center. Just look at Downtown. Something is happening in Downtown San Diego, the geographic heart of a binational region whose reach through Oceanside to the north and El Centro to the east represents a phenomenal array of ecological, economic and socially diverse communities. It is happening in spite of the extraordinary consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for how we work, live and play. San Diego appears to be reinventing itself as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, much as it did with the Panama California Exposition in 1915, with the designation of San Diego as a “Federal City” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the military build-up for World War II, followed by the city’s pivot to R&D-based economic development in the 1950s and its aggressive efforts to grow globally traded science and engineering clusters in the 1990s. The region’s next reinvention is signaled by the billions of dollars in external investment to create large life science/technology industry complexes on what were once centers of retail and tourism: 1 million square feet of Horton Plaza redevelopment led by Stockdale Capital Partners; 8 acres at the Embarcadero to create a San Diego Research and Development District led by the IQHQ biotech real estate investment group; the Padres’ conversion of

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What’s happening with Seaport San Diego, the $2.5B redo of downtown’s Central Embarcadero?

What’s happening with Seaport San Diego, the $2.5B redo of downtown’s Central Embarcadero? After spending more than four years refining a now $2.5 billion project, the developer picked to completely redo the existing 70 acres of land and water that make up San Diego’s Central Embarcadero appears to be on the cusp of receiving a key determination from the state agency tasked with protecting California’s tidelands. The decision in question, from the California State Lands Commission, relates to whether a handful of unconventional tideland uses, such as office space and brand-name retail stores, being proposed by developer 1HWY1 in the 2 million square-foot Seaport San Diego project are consistent with what’s known as the Public Trust Doctrine. The doctrine, which dates to Roman law, seeks to protect the public’s right to use and enjoy tidelands. Following years of back and forth, a preliminary finding in favor of the developer could come in a few months, 1HWY1 told the Union-Tribune and the agency confirmed. It would help finally push more formal — and public — consideration of a highly anticipated project that has yet to graduate from the realm of the conceptual to the actual. Should State Lands find that project is consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine, Seaport San Diego would then begin to travel down the long road of

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Biotech buyer acquires most of Manchester Pacific Gateway for $1.5B waterfront life science campus

Biotech buyer acquires most of Manchester Pacific Gateway for $1.5B waterfront life science campus Real estate firm IQHQ is taking over five city blocks along the bay for what it’s calling the San Diego Research and Development District   Hoping to make a splash in downtown’s real estate market, a celebrated biotech office developer has purchased more than 8 acres of waterfront land to create a life science city along San Diego’s Bay. Friday, the newly formed IQHQ real estate investment group, started by storied life science builder Alan Gold, completed its acquisition of around two-thirds — or five city blocks — of the development site known as Manchester Pacific Gateway. The transaction paves the way for what IQHQ is calling the San Diego Research and Development District, or RaDD, as a massive lab-filled campus where ground-floor retail and unrivaled bay views work to recruit the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry. “What we’re seeing in San Diego as life science thrives and matures here, and the capital is flooding it, is that the central markets are constricted,” said Tracy Murphy, president of IQHQ, in an interview with the Union-Tribune. “So through our relationship with Doug Manchester, in an off-market transaction, we were able to come to terms right after COVID hit to acquire this site. Our vision for it

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Horton Plaza’s days as a ghost town are numbered

Horton Plaza’s days as a ghost town are numbered New owner Stockdale Capital Partners is working mostly behind the scenes but says its tech campus and a revitalized park are still on track to open late next year Horton Plaza, the retail ghost town that was once the heart of San Diego’s downtown, is an active construction site as the center’s overseer works to remake the property into a thriving tech hub — although changes may not be immediately apparent to passersby. Since July, Horton Plaza owner Stockdale Capital Partners, with the help of contractor AMG Demolition, has been swinging hammers and bulldozing by way of compact robots inside the plaza’s buildings. Thus far, work has concentrated on the southeast edges of the mall, with the center’s former food court now just one big, empty shell. The old Nordstrom building on G Street is also in the process of being gutted as the real estate investment firm prepares to add 150,000 square feet by adding four stories for a yet-to-be-signed office tenant. The demolition work is barely visible to outsiders who can still walk freely through Horton Plaza’s meandering outdoor spaces. The mall still has a functioning parking garage and three major tenants: Macy’s, Jimbo’s Naturally and 24 Hour Fitness. The gutting process will set the stage for a more

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Brian Malarkey breaks all the rules with ultra-glamorous Animae

Brian Malarkey breaks all the rules with ultra-glamorous Animae The former ‘Top Chef’ celebrity, whose Herb & Wood proved he was a kitchen star, ramps up the glamour and innovation with his new Asian-inspired restaurant Is Brian Malarkey going soft on us? He is when it comes to the plush carpeting, olive green velvet booths and sofas, chairs and ceiling-height drapes that have turned his latest restaurant venture, Animae, into a spectacularly sumptuous culinary cocoon. The lavish fabric is more than a cinematic, Art Deco feast for the eyes and the touch. It’s intended to muffle noise. It’s designed to give the just-debuted $5.5 million downtown San Diego stunner a romantic feel. It’s meant to signal — quietly, of course — that Malarkey is breaking all the rules with what he’s calling a “coal-fired, Asian-inspired” restaurant that’s “#Animazing.” “It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done,” he said of the Malarkey Puffer Collective of eateries he has opened with partner, and design maven, Chris Puffer, including the wildly popular and critically acclaimed Herb & Wood in Little Italy. “It’s exciting that it has gone in an entirely different direction than anyone else has gone,” Malarkey said, becoming increasingly animated during a pre-opening tour of the curved, 7,600-square-foot space on the ground floor of the 41-story ultra-luxury Pacific Gate San Diego condo tower

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Symphony will Start Building its Permanent Bayside Venue Next Month

Symphony will Start Building its Permanent Bayside Venue Next Month The San Diego Symphony is just weeks away from breaking ground on its $45 million Bayside Performance Park venue thanks to large gifts from big-money philanthropists.Wednesday, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association’s board of directors voted to push forward with construction once the current season wraps up, meaning the project should commence in the second week of September and finish in July of next year. The decision represents confidence in the nonprofit’s ability to secure the private funding necessary to build the venue and complete park improvements.Already, the institution has raised more than half of the funds required, said Martha Gilmer, who is the symphony’s chief executive officer. Lead contributions include a gift made possible by Una Davis, who is the wife of former City Manager Jack McGrory. Well-known philanthropic couples Joan and Irwin Jacobs, and Ernest and Evelyn Rady are also giving substantial sums to help finance the project, although exact amounts weren’t disclosed.”(With the board’s OK), we’re really putting shovels in the dirt and beginning construction on this remarkable project,” Gilmer said.The project reached its crescendo, transitioning from theoretical to actual, last month when the Port of San Diego agreed to lease a 3.68-acre site on Embarcadero Marina Park to the symphony for up to 50 years. The agreement

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