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Barrio Logan First Up for Zoning Update

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, in his State of the City address this year, called for an initiative to update the city’s 50 community plans that define development and land-use policies.

Late last month, Sanders announced that Barrio Logan would serve as the first project.

Sanders said he selected Barrio Logan first because it’s been 30 years since the last planning effort there, and because the neighborhood is under increasing pressure as a result of the successful redevelopment downtown.

“The neighborhood is a dynamic community that has been forced to accommodate the legacy of decades of piecemeal planning efforts,” he said. “With this new effort, the community is going to get the opportunity to plan and guide its own development for many years to come.”

The plan, adopted in 1978, served as a comprehensive guide for the maintenance and development of the community through 1995.

Mary Wright, program manager with the city’s Planning and Community Investment Department, said the city will start updating the community plan and zoning map, as well as prepare an environmental impact report and revise the redevelopment plan in Barrio Logan starting in September. The community will get a chance to discuss the plan starting later in the fall.


Million-Dollar Project

Wright estimates that the $1.7 million effort will take up to 28 months to complete.

While Wright could not say what the goals for the update will entail, she did say Barrio Logan was given priority because the existing plan is out of date.

Wright said the existing plan allows for mixed uses that often don’t coexist very well. She said residential uses are often allowed next to industrial zonings.

“The (current) plan allows a variety of potentially incompatible uses to locate near each other,” she said.

In addition to the city’s planning division, the city’s redevelopment arm, Centre City Development Corp., and San Diego Unified Port District have teamed up in the effort. CCDC is contributing $1.5 million.

“We are trying to be a good neighbor and be as helpful as we can,” said CCDC spokesman Derek Danziger.

The port has also expressed interest in contributing, according to the mayor’s office.

In addition, the city has applied for a $250,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation.

The Barrio Logan Community Plan encompasses 1,000 acres, including Naval Base San Diego. The district is bound by Commercial Street to the north, National City to the south, San Diego Bay to the west and Interstate 5 to the east.

The boundaries also include areas under the jurisdiction of the port and U.S. Navy.


Plenty Of Potential

Residents and businesses invested in the neighborhood say they are eager for a transformation. Those who affectionately refer to their diverse and gritty community just as “the Barrio” know its underlying potential.

Ron Miriello, president of marketing firm Miriello Grafico Inc., said that after 18 years in the marina district, he was ready to purchase his own office space and Barrio Logan was the solution.

“We didn’t want to abandon an area we helped pioneer,” he said. “The more I looked at the Barrio, the more I saw its potential as a great place to put down new roots.”

He saw a solid and rich community culture and history, easy access and a growing number of risk takers who liked the district.

Miriello Grafico moved into its new location, a renovated warehouse on Logan Avenue and 17th Street, this month. The firm’s 14 employees occupy a large portion of the building and lease out the remaining 8,000 square feet.

Miriello supports an updated community plan. He said he saw a disconnection between the city’s goals to improve Barrio Logan and what the zoning allows.

“They are not congruent,” he said. “They need to do this to make this process easier.”

The firm’s client list includes FedEx Kinko’s, the Irvine Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Kaiser Permanente.


A Bigger Draw

Many believe that the local, state and national attention will bring more businesses to the neighborhood in the shadows of downtown.

Graham Downes Architecture, which has called Barrio Logan home since 2004, is developing Nacionalhaus, a mixed-use project to be built in Barrio Logan.

Construction of the 28,000-square-foot project is anticipated to start this year and be complete in the fourth quarter of 2008.

LandGrant Development is working with the city to develop San Diego Mercado, near Cesar E. Chavez Parkway and Newton Avenue.

The proposed Mercado is a mixed-use project that could generate $45 million in sales tax revenues, create more than 300 jobs and bring much-needed retail stores to the neighborhood.

The Mercado project features 30,000 square feet for a grocery store, 114,000 square feet for a discount department store, 23,000 square feet for additional retail, 770 parking spaces for retail users and 288 affordable housing units.

LandGrant Development has secured commitments from Target stores and negotiated a letter of intent from Northgate Gonzalez Supermarkets to anchor the proposed mixed-use development.

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