Rendering courtesy of Civic San Diego

Rendering courtesy of Civic San Diego

The California Department of Finance has approved $4.9 million in funding, needed to move forward with development of the $17.7 million Horton Plaza Park project in downtown San Diego.

The approval “clears the last financial hurdle” and allows construction to proceed on the planned public square park, said Andrew Phillips, interim president and CFO of Civic San Diego, the city’s project oversight agency.

The new 1.3-acre park is being developed by the city and mall operator Westfield Group, next-door to the Westfield Horton Plaza mall. Construction is now scheduled to begin this fall and conclude in September 2015.

The project is on the site of a former Robinsons-May department store building that was razed in 2012. The new Horton Plaza Park will include an amphitheater, food and retail pavilions, public restrooms, granite paving and an interactive water feature.

There will also be public right-of-way improvements in the vicinity, and the existing historic Horton Plaza park will be rehabilitated, with new landscaping and restoration of the Broadway Fountain.

Under an agreement with the city, Westfield Group has agreed to maintain the new park for 25 years, and will be programming approximately 200 events annually at the venue, including concerts, festivals and holiday celebrations.

The finance department allocation is part of a long-term process in which the state is pre-approving projects deploying funds formerly held by California’s community redevelopment agencies, which were disbanded in 2012.