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Will Urban Park In Downtown San Diego Get The Boot?

Reported by Katie Schoolov

The Quartyard park, built on a city-owned vacant lot, was designed to be temporary. The community became attached to it, and now it's set to become a high-rise condo complex.

A popular urban park and event space in downtown San Diego has been open for just over a year, but now it may be replaced by a high-rise condominium complex.

The Quartyard park was designed by architecture students and funded through crowdsourcing and private investments. Built on a city-owned vacant lot at the corner of Park and Market streets that wasn't being used, it was supposed to be temporary.

But Philip Auchettl, one of the students who designed the park three years ago, said he hoped to be in the space for a little longer.

"Quartyard is very much a community-built project," he said. "It’s taken off a lot more than any of us could have anticipated, and it’s had more of an impact on the neighborhood than any of us thought possible."

Photo caption:

Photo by Katie Schoolov

The Quartyard park in downtown San Diego, July 11, 2016.

The East Village park has been popular, sometimes attracting more than 1,000 people to concerts, markets and other events. It also has a coffee shop, restaurant and beer garden, and dog park.

The city now plans to sell the space. Quartyard has a lease through next July, but Auchettl said it could be "kicked off sooner."

A developer has submitted a proposal to the city’s redevelopment nonprofit Civic San Diego to build a 34-story condo complex in the space. It would house more than 400 units and have 600 parking spaces. Civic San Diego and the Downtown Community Planning Council are reviewing the plan.

Auchettl said he always knew the park would be temporary. It’s designed that way. Its buildings are made of shipping containers that can be picked up and moved.

But some downtown residents are attached to it. Community members have organized a petition to save the park.

"We knew this day was eventually going to come," Auchettl said. "But I think it’s raised a big question of, are people ready for that to happen yet?"

If Quartyard does have to move, Auchettl hopes to find another spot in the East Village. He said it's become a backyard for downtown residents to hang out in.

Photo caption:

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Dogs play in the Quartyard dog park in downtown San Diego, July 11, 2016.


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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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