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Canter CEO kicks in last funding for East Village student project

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The organization trying to bring temporary working spaces to a vacant East Village lot has received funding from Andrew Canter, CEO of Canter Cos.

“We decided to invest for two reasons,” Canter said. “One being we really liked their concept of a reusable infill project in an open space and that the design could replicated in other parts. Second, we really wanted to support this group of students and see their thesis project come to life.”

Philip Auchettl, one of four members of the Research Architecture Development Lab, said Canter is investing all of the remaining funds needed.

“Unfortunately, I cannot give you an exact number at this stage, but they are excited and confident in the project, and willing to do what it takes to make it a reality for downtown,” Auchettl wrote in an email Wednesday. “Canter has committed to seeing this project through till the end. Canter Companies is a highly ambitious and young entrepreneurial firm that supports our vision of this urban project.”

The team raised $60,000 in October as part of a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to pay for a conditional-use permit application, building fees and landscaping for its first project, called the Quartyard, on the city block bordered by Park Boulevard and Market, G and 11th streets.

Amenities will include a public plaza that will be open seven days a week, multiple food truck stalls, a picnic area, coffee shop, beer garden, and a grassed fenced-in dog run. This space will also be the site of craft and farmers markets and be available for public gatherings.

This temporary development will serve as the city’s courtyard, allowing an underused lot to quickly become a “vibrant focal point the residents can be proud of,” Auchettl said.

“The project is conceived with the principles of sustainability and reuse at its core,” Auchettl said. “While the structures are temporary, the idea behind it is to generate a combination of retail, art, gardens and community-based uses that will add energy and diversity to San Diego.”

The team hopes to have Quartyard open by the spring. An affordable housing complex is planned for the vacant lot, although there is no start date for construction.

RAD Lab recently submitted the conditional use permit and it will be considered Jan. 22 at the Downtown Community Planning Council.

“From there we hope to receive their recommendation,” Auchettl said. “In which case, 10 days later, we will present our project at a public hearing where the hearing officer will make the final decision about the conditional use permit.”

The team has secured Best Beverage Catering for the beer garden, which will be the anchor tenant. Restaurant owner Scott Slater and a local coffee shop tenant are nearing completion of securing their positions, Auchettl said.

The RAD Lab was formed as a thesis project by a small group of students including Auchettl, David Loewenstein, Jason Grauten, and Michael Poage at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design.

Former fellow student and construction manager Adam Jubela has joined the team since then.

The thesis began by focusing on transforming vacant, city-owned land into temporary public spaces.

“We plan to design and build removable structures that will serve as a placeholder for future permanent development,” Auchettl said.

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