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Temporary Urban Park Opens Saturday In East Village


Called Quartyard, the park includes a dog run, coffee shop and beer garden

San Diego's Temporary Urban Park Quartyard Opens Saturday
Temporary Urban Park Opens Saturday In East Village
A vacant lot in downtown San Diego has been transformed into an urban park with a dog run, coffee shop, stage and beer garden.

Two years ago, a group of students from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design had an idea to build a temporary park on land leased from the city of San Diego. On Saturday, their vision becomes a reality with the grand opening of Quartyard at Park and Market streets.

The organizers of the project are no longer students, and the vacant lot it's built on is no longer a vacant lot. It’s been transformed into an urban park with a dog run, coffee shop, stage and beer garden.

Philip Auchettl was one of the students and now is CEO of the design company RAD Lab, which built the park.

"We really started looking at the whole concept of vacant land and tactical urbanism and how we could start creating a sense of place within the community," he said.

The lot is owned by Civic San Diego, the city's nonprofit created to replace its dissolved redevelopment agency. Civic San Diego has no immediate plans for the lot, so the city is leasing it to RAD Lab through at least July 2016.

The temporary nature of the park means all of its structures have to be easy to pack up and move. So RAD Lab built its structures using shipping containers.

Auchettl said taking over the space benefits the surrounding community.

"If we can get in there and do something quick, economical and make something fun and creative out of it, everyone wins," he said.

Auchettl and his partners' plans were initially approved by former Mayor Bob Filner and survived an interim mayor and the current mayor, plus the city's permitting process. The project raised $60,000 in 30 days on the website Kickstarter and got a major fundraising boost from Andrew Cantor, CEO of the investment firm Cantor Companies.

"There were plenty of days where it was ups and downs, but in the end we’re very excited to have gotten this far," Auchettl said. "We couldn’t have done it without the support of the school and the surrounding community."

The park will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. until midnight on weekends.

The Meshuggah Shack coffee shop and Slater 50/50's S&M: Sausage and Meat are set up in the park, along with a 10,000-square-foot beer garden run by Best Beverage Catering. The space can also be rented out for private parties and events.

A grand opening to celebrate the park will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are sold out, and Auchettl said 1,200 people are expected to come.

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