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City Council Unanimously Approves Plan To Turn Horton Plaza Into Tech Hub

The proposed tech hub space at Horton Plaza is shown in this undated renderin...

Credit: Courtesy of Stockdale Capital Partners

Above: The proposed tech hub space at Horton Plaza is shown in this undated rendering.

UPDATED: 6:30 a.m., May 21, 2019

Downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza is on its way to becoming a high-tech hub.

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously late on Monday to approve a proposal from Los Angeles based Stockdale Capital Partners. They plan to turn the mall into a mixed-use center called the Campus at Horton.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Stockdale Capital Partners

An undated rendering of the Campus at Horton project.

Few people spoke in opposition to the new plan as the city council took public testimony. The owner of Jimbo’s grocery store, located in the mall, opposed it, saying he felt Stockdale would try to force him out.

The new plan will cut the current retail space in half and the rest of the property will be repurposed into 772,000 square feet of office space that the company expects will attract tech companies as tenants.

By Reporter John Carroll

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously late on Monday to approve a proposal that would transform Horton Plaza into a tech hub.

Stockdale representatives assured current Horton Plaza tenants that they are welcome to stay in their current locations and will not be evicted in favor of new retail outlets.

"We really think this can be the epicenter," said Dan Michaels, Stockdale's managing director. "Horton Plaza used to be something special, everyone knows that. I grew up going there as a kid. We want to make it special again and economically impactful to the community and we think that this does just that."

RELATED: City Council To Vote On Plan To Turn Horton Plaza Into Tech Offices

In the end, the vote by the City Council was unanimous.

"I'm very excited to see where this is headed," said City Councilman Chris Ward, whose district includes Horton Plaza. "It's just going to catalyze so much ... of the energy that we see happening downtown."

The developer said the new facility will create up to 4,000 well-paying jobs and is expected to generate more than $1.8 billion annually.

As part of the agreement, the city will amend its current land use restriction rules for Horton Plaza, allowing for the downsizing of retail space. In return, Stockdale will be required to provide $6.7 million in public benefits to the city as a way of recouping the lost retail revenue.

To do so, the firm must provide Horton Plaza with at least two security officers on duty 24 hours-per-day, year-round. Stockdale must also extend the Lyceum Theater's lease at Horton Plaza at its current annual rate of $1 beyond its expiration in 2035 for the minimum amount of time necessary to recoup the $6.7 million, estimated to be roughly seven years.

"I'm particularly excited that this will be another incentive to keep (UC San Diego) and (San Diego State University) graduates in San Diego," said City Councilwoman Barbara Bry. "UCSD has said that within five years, we lose about half of the engineering graduates to other cities."

Stockdale intends to break ground on the Horton Plaza renovations later this year and said the first phase should be completed by late 2020.

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In today's San Diego News Matters podcast: the latest on the migrant influx from Texas to San Diego, the future of Horton Plaza and the zoo's efforts to revive the ... Read more →

Aired: May 21, 2019 | Transcript

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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