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Architecture students transform empty East Village lot into ‘RAD’ urban park

The Quartyard to host pop-up markets, music and food

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The concept for the space, which covers a city block bordered by Park Boulevard and Market, G and 11th streets.

The developers of The Quartyard, a temporary mixed-use project that is repurposing a vacant lot in the East Village, has received a conditional use permit and their lease has been approved by Civic San Diego. The project broke ground earlier this month.

Philip Auchettl, one of four members of the Research Architecture Development Laboratory, the developers of The Quartyard, said the RAD Lab is in talks with a couple of companies to manage the property.

“We will be onsite every day, as well,” he said.

The group of students from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design who are part of the RAD Lab has submitted all of its construction documents to the city, state and health department, and said there were no major concerns during the first round of interviews.

A recent photo of the vacant East Village lot.

The Quartyard is designed as a pop-up marketplace on a city block bordered by Park Boulevard and Market, G and 11th streets that will showcase local products and services that rotate year-round.

It caters to residents seeking temporary outdoor activities and entertainment, and the space plans to host food trucks, musicians, retailers, educational seminars, fashion shows and even a dog run.

The development will also have three anchor tenants: Best Beverage Catering, Meshuggah Shack coffee shop, and a new sausage-inspired eatery from Slater’s 50/50 owner Scott Slater.

“Keeping it local is important to us,” Auchettl said.

The conditional use permit allows for eight live entertainment events per month, along with a farmers market and art shows. The Quartyard would be open until 10 p.m. during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.

Spaces will be rented out via large storage and shipping containers that will be converted to meet local building code requirements and seismic regulations.

They will be manufactured offsite and then installed at the city lot, across from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

Basile Studio will begin retrofitting shipping containers simultaneously as site preparation begins, Auchettl said.

Then once that is complete, the customized containers will be dropped off onsite and be fully operational.

The two-and-a-half year lease for the city block could be extended, depending on whether the affordable housing project that was originally slated for this property is ready to start construction.

“Our plan is not meant to be a permanent fixture at one location,” Auchettl said. “We can move this idea around and find a new location in San Diego.”

Auchettl said the plan is to have The Quartyard completed in time for Comic-Con International in late July so space could be rented out and the project could get more publicity.

A grand opening is scheduled for early August.

The Quartyard started as a thesis project by a small group of students including Auchettl, David Loewenstein, Jason Grauten and Michael Poage at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Former 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 until future planned development can move forward.

They have raised more than $60,000 to get this project from concept to reality through a Kickstarter campaign and private donations.

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