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Real Estate—Barrio Logan’s first new shopping center in decades due to break ground

The first new Barrio Logan retail development in decades is scheduled to break ground later this year, pending approval of government bonds to help finance the project.

The Mercado del Barrio development at Crosby and Main streets will be the home of three major retail tenants and several other smaller stores and restaurants when it is completed, said Allen Dueber, project manager for San Diego-based architects Austin Veum Robbins Parshalle.

The 115,000-square-foot complex will have retail space that faces the street and an interior courtyard for parking and landscape, he said. A Mexican-style grocery store, complete with tortilleria, is envisioned as the main tenant, with other space allocated for meetings and community events.

Barrio Logan is within a federal enterprise community zone, which qualifies the project for a variety of loans and grants, said Hank Cunningham, director of San Diego’s Economic Development and Community Service Department.

He estimated the cost of the project at about $22 million. Some $8.8 million in financing will come from city redevelopment funds and two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants worth almost $1.6 million, he said.

In a few weeks, the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee will consider earmarking $6 million in tax-exempt enterprise zone facility bonds. A total of approximately $13.6 million in private funds will complete the loan package, he said.

The Mercado del Barrio is also in the city’s 133-acre Barrio Logan Redevelopment Project area.

The proposed shopping center is also close to Chicano Park with its colorful Diego Rivera-influenced murals done by a variety of artists. It was this closeness to the park that prompted the architectural design team to include murals in the shopping center, Dueber said.

The design also takes into account the existing warehouse architecture and the Mexican influences in the neighborhood, Dueber said.

“We’re making public art a big part of this project because of the proximity of Chicano Park,” Dueber said. “It’s really important we maintain the original intent of Chicano Park to provide a view of the bay, and ‘all the way to the bay’ is the theme here.”

The development project is a partnership between LandGrant Development of San Diego, local investor Richard Juarez and the MAAC Project, a nonprofit community organization involved in affordable housing construction, Cunningham said. The land, which originally had a variety of old houses and industrial buildings, was acquired by the city through the redevelopment process, he added.

Dueber said precast concrete panels would be used in the buildings because of the variety of textured surfaces it allows the architect to include in the design.

Chris Smith, executive vice president of LandGrant Development, said his company was asked about a year ago by the MAAC Project and the city to become involved in the retail development. The MAAC Project had built the Mercado Apartments nearby, but was unable to complete its retail development component, Smith said.

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