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Commercial space fills up fast at Liberty Station

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"Live Work Play" has become the mantra of downtown promoters to describe the vibrant mix of residences, offices, restaurants, shops and more now found in San Diego's revitalized downtown community. Soon, San Diego will have another "Live Work Play" model to promote: Liberty Station.

A rendering of the planned retail section at Liberty Station.

What was once the San Diego Naval Training Center (NTC) is being reborn as Liberty Station, a 361-acre mixed-use community.

When the base closed in 1993, the community, the U.S. Navy and the city of San Diego spent many years developing a reuse program for NTC. Within that timeframe, hundreds of community meetings, design charrettes and public workshops were hosted to provide input into the redevelopment program, and thousands of people participated in the process. The culmination of that process was a dynamic mix of uses that will serve the San Diego community while honoring the rich history of the former Naval Training Center.

Today, the residential district of Liberty Station is nearly sold out and the first phase of the office district is fully committed to lease and sale. Totaling 100,000 square feet in two buildings, Phase One was developed and committed within just one year.

Occupying the first building is CDC Small Business Finance; Patricia Cooper, CPA & Jeanne M. Mann, CPA; McMillin Capital; Novonics Corp.; The Rock Church offices and San Diego Funding.

The second building will be occupied by The Corky McMillin Cos. as its corporate headquarters in April 2005.

Leasing for the second phase will open in the spring of 2005, and interest is already pouring in.

"The amenities offered at Liberty Station help make the office space very appealing," said Bret Gossett, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis. "When Liberty Station is completed, people can easily live, work, shop and play in this pedestrian-friendly community."

In addition to the 380,000 square feet of office space and 57 acres of retail space planned, Liberty Station will include a waterfront park and open space, art and cultural venues, residential villages, an educational district and several hotels.

NTC Park, a 46-acre waterfront park located in the heart of Liberty Station, will include two ball fields, two large picnic areas, four half-court basketball courts, a sports plaza, two tot lots, a historical area at Preble Field, a natural habitat zone, a multipurpose field and a 1.8-mile esplanade for bicycling and walking. Construction is expected to begin in January 2005.

The cultural district is on its way to becoming a major attraction as well. Developed by the NTC Foundation, NTC Promenade will be San Diego's destination for art, culture, science and technology. Opening in fall 2005, NTC Promenade will be a cultural centerpiece for innovative museums, galleries, performing and visual arts, festivals and events.

Also located on site, the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High Charter School is a bold innovation in public education. Launched in September 2000, nationally acclaimed High Tech High (HTH) has incorporated personalization, adult-world connections and a common intellectual mission.

Joining HTH in the educational district are High Tech Middle School and High Tech International. Several other educational uses are proposed and will provide Liberty Station with a vibrant educational district, totaling approximately 22 acres.

On either side of the boat channel, two hotel sites will serve business and recreational travelers with approximately 1,000 hotel rooms.

On the western side, a mid-rise building will step down to the water's edge and offer a recreation-oriented, family environment. A hotel featuring meeting and conference facilities is planned for the eastern end.

"Another great draw for office tenants at Liberty Station is the nine-hole golf course on site," said Don Mitchell, first vice president at CB Richard Ellis, who along with Gossett is representing the Liberty Station office district. "The current course will be transformed into a top-notch executive golf course just a short distance from the office district."

Not to be outdone by the residential, educational and office districts, the retail district has also been garnering a great deal of attention.

"We have interest from all types of companies, from major retailers to mom and pop shops," says Mike Moser, senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis. "Liberty Station will contain a broad range of retail choices. People will be able to walk from their homes or workplaces to run most of their errands, rather than taking their cars to multiple locations all over town."

For The Corky McMillin Cos., Liberty Station represents a unique opportunity to create an entire village within an existing, vibrant community.

"We are thrilled, excited and honored about this once in a lifetime opportunity at Liberty Station," said Walter Heiberg, senior vice president and project manager at The Corky McMillin Cos. "This will be a destination for citizens and visitors alike; a place full of Navy history, historical architecture, art, culture and waterfront recreation."

For more information about space available at Liberty Station, call (858) 646-4770. For general information about Liberty Station, log on to www.libertystation.com.>

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