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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

San Diego Approves Hazard Center Revamp

The San Diego City Council has approved plans for a $200 million redevelopment of the 20-year-old Hazard Center in Mission Valley.

At its May 18 meeting, the council voted 7-0 in favor of the project, which will add up to 473 new residential units to an existing 14-acre retail and office center at Friars and Frazee roads.

Councilwoman Donna Frye, who represents the Mission Valley area, did not vote on the project, having left the meeting earlier due to illness. Frye proposed unsuccessfully to have the vote postponed to a later date.

Lawmakers said they backed the project because it includes smart-growth concepts, including infill development, pedestrian friendly features and quick access to the local trolley system.

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Approval came at the end of a public hearing that lasted more than two hours and included comments from 21 speakers. About two-thirds of comments favored the redevelopment. Those who spoke in favor of the project included representatives of environmental and transit advocacy groups, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Associated General Contractors, local merchants and the YMCA.

Opponents included residents living near the proposed development, who said proposed high-rise towers are obtrusive, and that the project lacks adequate park facilities and will add to traffic problems in the area.

Local developer OliverMcMillan Co. plans two new residential towers, 21 and 22 stories tall, with a total of 400 residential units to be added to the existing 14-acre retail and office center at Friars and Frazee roads. Another 73 row homes would be added in five-story buildings planned along the property’s southern border.

Dene Oliver, CEO and principal in the development firm, said financing is still being arranged, and it may be two or three years before the bulk of construction gets moving.

Oliver said he is donating $25,000 to organizers of local Asian and Latino film festivals, which will be displaced when an UltraStar movie theater at Hazard Center is eventually torn down for the redevelopment.

Oliver and city officials pledged to help film festival organizers find new permanent homes for their events, with downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter among locations being discussed.

— Lou Hirsh


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