The Rady Shell on San Diego’s Bayfront was among projects and people honored by the Downtown Partnership for their innovation and contribution to downtown. (Photo courtesy of the San Diego Symphony)

The Rady Shell on San Diego’s Bayfront was among projects and people honored by the Downtown Partnership for their innovation and contribution to downtown. (Photo courtesy of the San Diego Symphony)

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs at the University of California San Diego extension, were among those honored by the Downtown San Diego Partnership with Create the Future Awards.


Betsy Brennan President and CEO Downtown San Diego Partnership

In ceremonies sponsored by SDG&E, 11 awards were given out to what the Downtown Partnership described as downtown’s “doers, helpers and innovators.”

“We’ve never been more optimistic about Downtown’s bright future ahead,” said Betsy Brennan, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership.

“With a changing skyline, resilient neighborhoods, and a community that’s innovating – now is Downtown’s time to shine,” Brennan said. “The Create the Future Awards is an opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the people, projects, and initiatives turning that bright future into reality.”

The awards program was started in 1962. Previously known as the Alonzo Awards after Alonzo Horton, the name was changed last year to the Create the Future Awards.

The awards went to those “championing milestone projects, leading groundbreaking initiatives, and finding creative ways to enhance the downtown experience,” according to the Downtown Partnership.

Advancing Prosperity

Among groups honored were the Port of San Diego, Protea Properties, and SLP Urban Planning for their drive to revitalize Seaport Village and transform it into “an attractive destination incorporating human-centered design improvements and engaging programming to secure visitor satisfaction and a 95% occupancy rate.”

They were give the Economic Prosperity Award, sponsored by Holland Partner Group + NASH.

Fletcher, chairman of the board of supervisors, was honored with the Government Elected Official of the Year Award sponsored by ACE Parking for “his continued effort to lead the region’s COVID-19 response and innovative solutions for our unsheltered population.”

Walshok received the Founders Award sponsored by the Bank of America “for her career-spanning leadership to further the region’s economic growth.”

Walshok is spearheading the development of the university’s first major presence in downtown, at UC San Diego Park & Market. She is responsible for UC San Diego’s major campus outreach initiative for the development, financing, and programming of the project.

Receiving the Government Partner of the Year Award sponsored by Intesa Communications Group was Christina Bibler, San Diego economic development director.

Bibler was honored “for her support in advancing an economically prosperous and culturally vibrant downtown.”

An Architectural Wonder

Old Gallery Coffee House & Swami’s Café Downtown was honored with the Small Business of the Year Award sponsored by Banner Bank “for their amazing resiliency to not only survive the pandemic related challenges, but to expand their business due to the loyal support of the downtown community.”

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award sponsored by Cox Communications went to David's Harp Foundation “for their work to inspire, educate, and empower system-affected and homeless youth to achieve academic success through the arts.”

Receiving the Grow Urban Award sponsored by Republic Services was Kilroy Realty’s 2100 Kettner project “for setting a new standard for sustainable real estate for the region at large.”

“The project has emerged as a shining example of sustainable real estate development downtown,” according to the Downtown Partnership.

Designed in partnership with Gensler architects, the Downtown Partnership said that “the seven-story low rise is San Diego’s most sustainable mixed-use commercial real estate development, showcasing the latest technology, design, and materials to reduce energy consumption and provide a healthy working environment within the Little Italy neighborhood.”

The all-electric building includes rooftop solar energy panels and a green roof and terrace system that helps cool the interior.

The San Diego Symphony’s Rady Shell at Jacobs Park received the Cultural Vitality Award sponsored by Rudolph & Sletten and Bergelectric “for elevating San Diego’s vibrant cultural and arts scene with a state-of-the-art concert venue that doubles as a public center for the entire city.”

Calling it an “architectural wonder,” the Downtown Partnership said that the Rady Shell’s economic and cultural impact will stretch for decades and “is primed to rival some of the most iconic outdoor venues like the Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.”

Making a Difference

Honored with the Vic Kops Humanitarian Award sponsored by U.S. Bank was the San Diego Convention Center for “creating a blueprint and serving as a national model as an emergency shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.”

“In the convention center’s role as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, more than 2,400 children and teens were reunited with family or moved into sponsor homes by the time the intake site closed in the summer of 2021,” according to the Downtown Partnership. “As only the second large facility in the nation to provide shelter capacity for unaccompanied children at the time, the convention center served as a national model for other facilities across the country that answered the federal government’s call for assistance.”

Joe Ciavarella and the Friends of Tweet Street Park earned the Jim Dawe Memorial Volunteer of the Year award sponsored by San Diego State University’s Mission Valley Innovation District “for their collective efforts to restore and beautify their local linear park.”

Ciavarella volunteered his time for five years cleaning and maintaining the upkeep of Tweet Street Park, located on the upper side of Cortez Hill, according to the Downtown Partnership. Neighbors joined with him to found Friends of Tweet Street.

“The park would not be what it is today without Joe and the volunteers,” the Downtown Partnership said.

Housing and More

The Create the Future Award sponsored by Procopio went to the Park and Market mixed-use development “for its creative mix of public and private space to meet the region’s critical needs while also paving the way for the future of innovation.”

“The Park and Market Mixed-Use Development combines Downtown’s unique live/work/play lifestyle all in one city block in the East Village. Park and Market features a complementary mix of public and private uses including housing, office/ classroom, retail, public space, and entertainment – all made possible by Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, UC San Diego, NASH and Holland Partner Group,” according to the Downtown Partnership.

“The project supports the region’s critical need for housing and fostering inclusive neighborhoods with a 34-story residential tower boasting 426 apartment units, 20 percent of which are affordable units. Additional uses foster community connectivity including UC San Diego’s new Downtown campus – ‘a flagship for future innovation’ - which is housed in a four-story stand-alone building; retail space that will serve the neighborhood, and a themed public plaza and amphitheater that provide a gathering and performance space for the entire community.”