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Mayoral Committee Recommends New City Hall, Affordable Housing, Theater on 6 Downtown Blocks

Downtown San Diego
Downtown San Diego looking toward Civic Center Plaza and City Hall. Photo by Chris Stone

An advisory committee created by Mayor Todd Gloria recommended Friday that developers be sought to transform six blocks of downtown San Diego, with a goal of a new City Hall and Civic Theater along with affordable housing.

The Civic Center Revitalization Committee cited a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to “replace a City Hall and other city buildings that are outdated and inefficient” and redevelop the adjacent five blocks with much-needed affordable housing and civic spaces.

The six blocks include the current City Hall, Golden Hall, the Civic Theater, the Civic Plaza building, the Civic Operations Building, and the controversial 101 Ash Street tower.

Under the state’s Surplus Land Act, a Notice of Availability would be issued in the spring to developers interested developing five of the six blocks, leaving the block where the Civic Operations Building is located for a new City Hall

“I enlisted creative and knowledgeable local leaders to help ensure we seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform a part of our civic core that’s in desperate need of a revamp, and they have not disappointed,” Gloria said. 

“The committee’s final report serves as blueprint for us to take decisive action as we embark on a transparent, deliberate process to reimagine a critical piece of San Diego real estate for all of us,” he said.

The committee recommended that 25% of any housing built on the property be affordable to residents who earn 80% of area median income or less.

“This final report was the product of hundreds of hours of volunteerism and dozens of meetings held by the committee and its subgroups that focused on different aspects of the Civic Center revitalization: tourism, vision, economic development and how it impacts the community,” said Jaymie Bradford, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, who chaired the committee.

The committee’s report is available online.

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