I thought it might be useful and interesting to highlight a different downtown neighborhood each week. Whether you live here in Downtown San Diego, or are considering a move to this area, it is both interesting and beneficial to know a little bit about the history of the Downtown.specifically the development of its core neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is distinctly different from one another, each offering their own eclectic atmosphere, culture, and past. The beginnings and history of each neighborhood are still highly visible through historical preservation, proper zoning and planning, and the unique infrastructure that each neighborhood offers to this day.
We begin with the East Village, Ballpark District.
The East Village has long been home to industry warehouses, empty lots, and at times a large homeless population. It became a popular place for the young artistic community and a place for San Diego social services in the early ‘90s, but that was about it. Boosted by plans surrounding Petco Park, development has skyrocketed in this district. Technically, the Residential component of East Village did not exist only three years ago. In 2004 Petco Park opened and brought the redevelopment of both new and old. Along with the new ballpark construction, some of San Diegos historical buildings including the Simon Levi Building , Old Candy Factory, and Shifter and Sons Building were transported and rearranged to accommodate the New East Village Neighborhood. This not only brought character, but also created an ambience and architectural draw. The East Village had suffered from deterioration, crime, and homelessness until about 1992 when the Centre City Community Plan was implemented in 1992. Vast public improvements, social services, and commercial and residential developments have made over East Village, with an emphasis on its rich artistic culture. Now, former warehouses and other old buildings have been transformed into residential and commercial lofts. The New School of Architecture, San Diego City College and two high schools augment this neighborhood’s youthful, urban, and creative population.
The residential sector of the ballpark area has seen an incredible boom with new and popular residential high-rises such as Icon, Fahrenheit, M2i, and The Legend. All of the new architecture, although bringing its own flare, has stayed true to the artsy and historical feel. The result is a more contemporary urban and unique atmosphere. New businesses are popping up left and right even further defining the new face of the East Village, including: The East Village Tavern, The Corner, Basic, Tilted Kilt, and Cowboy Star. Residents and business owners in the East Village seem to all know each other, creating a tight-knit community. There are numerous infrastructure plans on the future map for the East Village: the Park-to-the-Bay Link that connects Balboa Park to the San Diego Bay via a colorful promenade, a new Jefferson Law School, as well as the New Main San Diego Library.
East Village is San Diego’s largest and most rapidly developing neighborhood. Schools, a central police station, commercial services, and industry balance the residential land use. This center of modern urban development is also San Diego’s arts district, spotted with artists’ homes, studios, galleries and shops. The Redevelopment Agency (CCDC) has focused on giving East Village residents “an enviable quality of life” through beautification, rehabilitation, employment opportunities, and the development of East Village as an arts and entertainment center.