A committee of Civic San Diego, the city’s downtown project oversight agency, has approved preliminary designs for a new public plaza and mixed-use apartment development planned in Little Italy.

The project at India and Date streets has been proposed by San Diego-based developer H.G. Fenton Co. It includes two buildings with a total of 125 apartments, retail elements and a vehicle-free pedestrian plaza for social gatherings and events.

Construction on Date Street Piazza is expected to begin by midyear and conclude by late 2015, according to the Little Italy Association, a neighborhood-focused business group working with the developer and city on the plaza project.

Civic San Diego’s real estate committee also approved preliminary designs for a 154-room Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel, planned for a site at 831 Sixth Ave. in East Village.