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Ballpark continues to drive downtown development

As promised, Petco Park has been an economic engine for what is projected to be approximately $1.4 billion of new projects in the East Village -- and developers are still scrambling for new sites.

Photo/Skip Jurus Petco Park has spawned unprecedented development in East Village.

Derek Danziger, Centre City Development Corp. communications director, said the impact of the ballpark on the East Village, as well as on the rest of downtown, has been enormous.

The ballpark has already spawned substantial residential development and a new 512-room hotel that is physically attached to Petco Park. The hotel -- Omni San Diego Hotel -- was among the required elements for allowing the ballpark to proceed. "Without question, the ballpark has proven to be a tremendous catalyst that far exceeded anyone's expectations," Danziger said.

Danziger added that what has been most noticeable is the residential development taking place in an area that builders had shied away from before it was known the ballpark would be built.

Danziger said he also is glad that projects like Cisterra Partners LLC's DiamondView Tower project adjacent to the ballpark will bring new office development outside the downtown core.

"It will be nice to have office workers in that part of town," Danziger said.

DiamondView is being planned as a 14-story mid-rise development that will look right into the ballpark. The development will have 264,000 square feet of office space and 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at the southeast corner of Tenth Avenue and J Street.

Cisterra says if it can secure about 40 percent pre-leases, construction should begin this fall, with completion in 2006.

Brian Walsh of the Walsh Chacon commercial brokerage firm, believes the development in the East Village would have happened anyway as land was used up in other parts of downtown, but that the ballpark accelerated the pace.

"Is it a catalyst? Definitely. You can look at what's happened in Denver and Baltimore to see what's happened to those downtowns," Walsh said. "You can see there and here that things have happened much more quickly."

Walsh said there has been such a snatching up of properties by Bosa Development and other prominent builders, that developments are not only being pushed out of the East Village area, but even east of Interstate 5.

"It's wonderful that the process has been accelerated at a time when money was available at the cheapest rates in 30 or 40 years," Walsh said.

Walsh added that the one aspect that might never have happened without the ballpark is the ground floor retail being developed in the residential projects. "None of that retail would have happened, but the ballpark creates a strong demand," Walsh said.

Other high-profile projects that have yet to be started in the East Village include Rob Wellington Quigley's proposed central library that has been in the works for more than a decade.

Quigley hopes to see construction begin on his eagerly awaited library begin before the end of the year. Planned for the block bounded by the future Park Boulevard extension, Library Circle, Eleventh, J and K, the 10-story, 378,836-square-foot structure could be completed in April 2007.

The new library, which will replace a dilapidated structure at Ninth and E streets, is being considered as an integral part of the city's Park-to-Bay link. Tucker Sadler Noble Castro Architects of San Diego is also on the design team for this project.

Cisterra Partners LLC's DiamondView Tower project will bring new office development outside the downtown core. The building is being planned as a 14-story mid-rise development that will look right into the ballpark. The development will have 264,000 square feet of office space and 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at the southeast corner of Tenth Avenue and J Street.

Quigley, who is working on the design with Tucker Sadler, will need $4 million for final construction documents, plus $110 million in construction bond financing for this project to fly.

A $150 million July 8 bond sale provides financing for the library and a bridge that will span across Harbor Drive from the Convention Center to Petco Park.

Another large project that may not have been possible without the ballpark is the East Village Square mixed-use development, promised by the Padres as part of their development agreement with the city.

This 655,000-square-foot development by John Moores' firm, JMI Real Estate Inc., will have office and residential uses along three blocks of J Street between Seventh and 10th streets. This project is expected to get started by fall and be completed by the summer of 2007.

Campus on the Park is another JMI Development project centered on the ballpark, but the timetable for this promised 450,000-square-foot mid-rise office park has yet to be determined. This project could be taken by a single corporate user or by multiple tenants.

JMI also pledged to have a 235-room boutique hotel near the ballpark as part of the ballpark development agreement.

For a time it appeared Ameri-Suites would get the nod. Then the hotel, now known as Hotel Solomar, became part of the Kimpton Hotel chain. This will mark Kimpton's first entry into the San Diego market.

On another front, construction got under way earlier this summer on the first phase of Market Street Village, an SRM Development project whose first phase will include a sorely needed second supermarket downtown to serve the residents of all the new high-rise condominiums in and adjacent to East Village.

The phase along the east side of 14th between Market and G, will include a 43,000-square-foot Albertson's supermarket and 225 apartments. Benson & Bohl Architects of University City is designing the six-story project. The development is slated for completion in December 2005.

The second phase of Market Street Village will be on the block bounded by 13th, 14th, Island and Market. Also a six-story project, it will have 265 low-income apartments and 24,000 square feet of retail space. Construction on this phase is expected to begin in December, with completion tentatively slated for June 2006.

The ballpark has helped fuel an unprecedented residential boom downtown.

The high-rise condominiums and apartments keep coming -- most, as noted by Walsh, with at least some retail components on their ground floors.

Among these is a Bosa Development project called Left Field Block on the parcel bounded by J, K, Seventh and Eighth streets directly north of the ballpark. This project will include 183 condominiums, 31,000 square feet of street level retail in a 23-story building, and will incorporate and rehabilitate the historic Kvaas Construction Building, as well as the Station A structure.

Construction is expected to get under way this fall, with completion slated for September 2006. Vancouver-based Bosa is the largest residential developer downtown by far, with more than 1,000 units already completed and perhaps 1,000 more in the works.

Near the ballpark's right field wall and adjacent to the new main library, Levin Menzies LLC is planning a mixed-use development that incorporates the historic Carnation Building at J, K, 10th and 11th.

The project will have 325 condominiums and 27,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is expected to begin before the end of summer, with a completion date of August 2006. San Francisco-based TannerHecht Architects is designing the building.

Construction also has begun on a 43-story development by architect Douglas Austin at the northeast corner of Park Boulevard and K streets. That structure will house 118 condominiums and 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The project is slated for completion in June 2006.

For more information about these and other downtown projects, log on to www.ccdc.com.

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