There’s a problem with East Village’s rapid transformation into the urban center imagined by developers and planners as a place where residents can live, work and play.
They forgot about the work.
Sumeet Parekh, managing partner of HP Investors, a development firm behind several new and planned East Village developments, said the lack of office space is a problem.
“I don’t think that anybody really wants East Village to be another bedroom community in San Diego,” he said. “Everybody wants it to be a live, work and play development, and the work is what ties the system all together. You have to have people in and activating the streets at all times during the day, not just driving out in the morning and coming back in the evening.”
Plus, the dearth of office space in East Village could make it hard for retail businesses and restaurants to survive, Parekh said.
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How much of this building of housing in East Village simply has to do with the shortage of housing in San Diego with much of what is being built in places that are just out of reach of the worst of the NIMBYs and the local planners (Uptown Planners, e.g.)?
There is a framework for doing things differently in San Diego (city of villages, climate action plan, etc.), but little to no political leadership to make any of it happen. So you get housing built where there's the least opposition and that's about as far as any planning goes.
This was totally predictable, but Civic San Diego planners live in la-la land, and believe that if we just build enough apartment complexes and condo towers, companies will steam into the neighborhood to set up new manufacturing businesses. Being a barista at Starbucks doesn't count as work, having a regular job that pays enough to afford to live in East Village would. Take a look at the companies who are busy building apartments and condos, like Jerome's Furniture, and hold them accountable for living up to earlier promises about creating more new jobs.
Two things here -
1. When did "retail" stop being work? If the developments include retail, that's a strong work component and retail can keep an area vibrant during the day a lot quicker than office space in which the workers sit inside all day and really contribute little to the vitality of an area.
2. The economics of live/work/play have to be based on wages high enough in the "work" piece of it to afford the "live" piece. My guess is that the rental prices of these new buildings will outprice the wages of most workers except those in the high tech or high professional sectors. Of course, the possibility that self-employed professionals might want to live/work in the same apartment unit could offer a different situation.
Marketing jargon like "live/work/play" is just that - marketing jargon - without solid economics behind it.
And, that is the point with reversing the urban sprawl concept. There should be some kind of incentive to provide businesses, corporate offices downtown. By reversing the sprawl mindset, people will demand more mass transit and less use of vehicles.
And, I still do not see an increase in mass transit connecting Golden Hill with downtown.