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Little Italy Parking Garage Developer Pledges Community Sensitivity

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Aired 4/19/09

San Diego’s County Supervisors took the first step toward making their bay front parking lots into public open space. But the contract they awarded today raised fears in nearby Little Italy. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Board of Supervisors awarded a contract to a downtown developer to build a new multi-story parking garage and a 29-story residential high rise in Little Italy. The plan is to move county employee cars away from the prime Embarcadero land around the county administration building, and turn it into green space.

But urban designer Tony Cutri begged the supervisors to be careful how they develop the Kettner Boulevard site.

Cutri : Which in many ways is the front door to Little Italy. Look at something beyond the revenue that’s generated by the parking there. It’s a very difficult project to do in a sensitive community fashion.

The County will own the new Little Italy car park: each of the 900 spaces is estimated to be worth $50,000. Most buildings in the Little Italy neighborhood are no more than three to five stories high. Supervisors pledged to work with the community on plans for the multi-story development.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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