Demolition and Paving Downtown for Surface Parking Continues

International MaleSan Diego – “They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see ‘em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot” – Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, 1970. The owners of the property on the South side of F Street, between Seventh & Eighth Avenues plan to demolish three buildings to pave 35,000 square feet for more surface parking.  The buildings to be demolished include the Walsh & Chacon Building and the one story brick facade buildings that housed the International Male, a men’s clothing retailer with a well known mail order catalogue.  Its successor is the Undergear brand.  This stretch along F Street thrived in the nineties as an alternative retail district sometimes referred to as the “F Street District.”  It included  included such businesses as the Green Circle Bar & Grill (which showcased nationally renowned hip hop and acid jazz artists  including the Roots, Justice System, and the Grey Boy Allstars.  The Green Circle building was demolished for expansion of Catholic Charities’ Rachel’s Womens’ Center), Behind the Post Office Clothing (which started a streetwear alternative to the behemoth Action Sports Retail trade show), Behind the Post Office Shoes, and many other artistic and interesting businesses.  Walsh & Chacon BldgThe Walsh & Chacon building operated in the nineties as an incubator executive suite (i.e. central reception) with a communal and edgy flair that could be thought of as an earlier version of the co-working spaces popular today.   The one story brick facade buildings, with attractive decorative masonry, were deemed not to be historic by City staff in response to the demolition application despite their approximate 50 – 100 year vintage.  From this author’s perspective, the proliferation of demolition to make way for surface parking lots in San Diego’s downtown, and its resultant pedestrian unfriendly environment, has offset much of the vertical development so that downtown is not much closer to being a thriving urban core than it was twenty years ago.  For more on the project, visit the Civic San Diego (formerly CCDC) Staff Report.

Avatar of Bill Adams About Bill Adams

Bill Adams is the founder and chief editor of UrbDeZine. He is also a partner in the San Diego law firm of Norton, Moore, & Adams, LLP. He has been involved with land use and urban renewal for nearly 25 years, both as a professional and as a personal passion. He currently sits on the Boards of San Diego Historic Streetcars, The San Diego Architectural Foundation, The Food and Beverage Association of San Diego County, and The Gaslamp Quarter Association Land Use Planning Committee.

Norton, Moore, & Adams, LLP is a boutique land use firm which handles a wide range of land and building related matters, from permitting to litigation, including:

- Discretionary use applications and appeals, including alcoholic beverage sales, entertainment, industrial, social services, educational, hospitality, etc.
- Zoning variances
- Municipal code and regulatory amendments
- Litigation, including eminent domain, access and easements, CEQA, environmental, and preservation
Professional website: www.nmalawfirm.com

Comments

  1. “…the proliferation of demolition to make way for surface parking lots in San Diego’s downtown, and its resultant pedestrian unfriendly environment, has offset much of the vertical development so that downtown is not much closer to being a thriving urban core than it was twenty years ago.” I definitely second THAT emotion, Bill!

    • mlcred I walked by these buildings this week and it appears that they are susceptible to adaptive reuse, even in higher density developments. The buiilding that housed International Male reminds me of the TR Produce Building near Petco Park, the brick facade of which was incorporated into a new modern structure. Once these structures are demo’d, such opportunities will be lost.  Surface parking is an interim use that shouldn’t define the future. 

      • Bill Adams Oh, surface parking is the most inefficient urban land use extant. What’s even worse is when stuctures are domolished for parking — and then the land sits there for MONTHS before being paved. Makes me crazy!

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