From Little Italy to East Village, downtown San Diego continues to Witness a steady post-recession stream Of new building projects, especially apartments geared to the rising tide Of millennial-age residents 35 and younger who prefer to live and work in vibrant urban spaces.
Downtown’s current residential population, which also includes empty-rest baby boomers and other 40-and-over business professionals — is at 40,000 and expected to reach 90,000 ill the next 20 years. Those new residents will also demand quality-of-life elements like parks, Stores, hotels and restaurants — also in the pipeline — that experts say will transform the environment to where it resembles the urban hubs of other major U.S. cities, such as New York and San Francisco.
The upshot could be downtown operating 24-7 mode, rather than the weekday “18-hour” long familiar to local residents in many parts of downtown, especially the central corridor.
“You need to be adding these amenities that people expect when you are living in a higher-density environment,” said Brad Richter, assistant vice president of planning for Civic San Diego, the city’s downtown project oversight agency.
At the end of 2015, Civic San Diego data showed that downtown had 17 projects currently under construction, which will add 2,365 apartments and 232 for-sale condominiums to local inventory.
Also at year’s end, construction cranes were motion at downtown projects that will eventually bring 1,081 new hotel rooms to the market, along with 141,000 square feet of retail and more than 750,000 square feet of other commercial space
Factor in another 32 projects that have been approved but not started, and another 15 projects submitted but pending approval, and downtown’s seven neighborhoods over the next decade will have more than 10,000 new apartments and condos than exist today, along with 13,000 additional hotel rooms and nearly 2.7 million square feet of commercial space.
At the former Lane Field ballpark site, a development partnership known as L2HP is nearing completion
On a dual-branded Marriott hotel project with a total of 400 rooms and a summer opening is expected for T2 Hospitality’s dual-branded Hilton project, with 3M rooms, near Little Italy.
The ever-bustling Little Italy continues to get an array of apartments and restaurants, with more new elements including d ventral public plaza now under construction. Near downtowns central business hub, a new park with an amphitheater will be opening in May next-door to Westfield Horton Plaza, and the city has several other new downtown parks in the pipeline, including a multi-block open space called East Village Green.
Shaping all of this into a livable, walkable and drivable environment will be the challenge or government leaders as well as the developers aiming to capitalize on shifting demographics and lifestyle trends. Where those 35-and-under new workers prefer to work and play will continue to influence what gets built and how it all fits together over the next several years.
The city is in the process of getting public comments on a downtown mobility plan, part or which includes way-finding signs that recently hit the streets of downtown to help residents and visitors better navigate the landscape and cut down on fuel-wasting searching for their destinations.