A Downtown for Cars, Not People – Update

International Male HQSan Diego – I was saddened to learn today that the demolition of these two buildings to make way for a 35,000 s.f. surface parking lot was approved last month in a public hearing, which no one but the applicant attended.  This news is contrary to what I incorrectly reported previously.   Apparently, the application was not reviewed by the Centre City Advisory Committee due to the cancellation of their July meeting.  The public notice for the subsequent conditional use permit hearing went unnoticed by the public, and due to the lack of opposition, the hearing officer waived the appeal period.

Our much vaunted redevelopment project has now created a downtown, while taller, has less street level facade square footage than when I first opened my law practice here 25 years ago.  Parking is so inexpensive now (as little $5/day) that there is little incentive to use the City’s mass transit system.   It seems reasonable to assume that the surplus of parking also undermines the cost recovery for the municipal parking garages constructed with public subsidy during the height of redevelopment.   I sense an Onion nomination for next year’s San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchids & Onions Awards.  Walsh & Chacon Building









Profile photo 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


  1. avatar HowardBlackson says:

    Well, crap.

    • HowardBlackson I spoke to Bruce Coons yesterday and he mentioned that SOHO has been trying to get the City to agree to a poster on buildings notifying the public of demolition applications.  They even offered it in settlement of the SOHO suit against the City over the demolition of the Ford Building (near the Smart Corner) but that the City has steadfastly refused.  Bruce stated that several California cities do have this has part of the demolition application process.  This demolition and CUP application seem to have flown under the radar, no doubt helped in large part by the fact that the 300 foot mailed notice area around this building is largely misses any of the downtown public that might be concerned about the demolition. 

  2. I have since learned that the Historic Resources Board designated the 741 F St building historic but that the designation was appealed by the building owner and overturned by the City Council. 

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