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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024
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REDEVELOPMENT–CCDC Troubleshooter Finds Solutions in Paradise



Redevelopment: Keeping Downtown Open for Business Is the Goal

No one ever said building Paradise was going to be easy.

The Centre City Development Corp. has a list of more than 100 projects on its to-do list for the Downtown area this year , some as large as the proposed baseball stadium, and others as low-profile as fixing sidewalks along India Street.

But with work progressing on as many as 40 projects at once, that could wreak havoc , on businesses affected by the construction, on traffic due to street closures, on parades or other events scheduled in the immediate area, and even on contractors, as builders on adjacent projects fight over turf.

To help alleviate the difficulties associated with construction, the CCDC has created “Paradise in Progress,” set up as a clearinghouse of information.

Camille Ohlson is the program’s chief troubleshooter.

The CCDC chose the name “Paradise in Progress” to communicate the fact that the confusion caused by the construction is only temporary, and also the fact that the end result will be worth it, Ohlson said.

“We want people in the San Diego area, and certainly outside the area, to know that Downtown is open for business,” she said.

Finding Solutions

Ohlson’s office fields about 40-50 calls a week. The calls range from people in the North County worried about whether there will be any parking or asking about future events, to people calling to complain about construction-related problems.

Still others call to find out about construction jobs, since the Paradise in Progress hot line is posted at construction sites.

Often, she will receive complaints from businesses worried they’ll lose customers due to construction.

Whatever the complaint or worry, it’s Ohlson’s job to work with the contractors or the city on a possible solution or get a timeline from the city so the business owner knows how long the disturbance will be, she said.

Some of the more notable construction projects scheduled for completion this year are the William Penn Hotel, the Gaslamp Quarter building with a reopening only a few days away; El Cortez Apartments, the historic former hotel, scheduled to reopen June 10; and The Heritage Apartments, an adjacent two-block project slated to open in September, said Donna Alm, vice president of marketing and communications with the CCDC.

Projects Scheduled

Some of the most prominent projects scheduled to begin construction this year are the Downtown ballpark and East Village redevelopment, with groundbreaking slated for late spring or early summer; three hotels adjacent to the ballpark, with construction scheduled to start this summer; and Borders Books Music & Cafe, which will be housed in a new building in the Gaslamp Quarter that will also be home to several other retail outlets, Alm said.

In the future, San Diego residents can also look forward to seeing 2,600 new residences all over the Downtown area. There will also be 1 million square feet of commercial space , mostly retail and entertainment, with some office space.

KUSI-TV will return to Downtown, in a 27-story, mixed-use office tower across from the San Diego Convention Center. Also, the flapper-era Balboa and California theaters will be renovated and reopened, she said.

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