While attending ICSC@Western, Minda Johnstone joined the featured tour of The Campus at Horton, formerly Horton Plaza. This 37-year-old mall in the heart of downtown San Diego is being entirely renovated by Stockdale Capital Partners. When completed, the development will offer 300,000 sf of retail space; 700,000 sf of office space, expected to appeal to life science and biotech firms; and 2,200 parking spaces, representing the largest parking structure downtown, all at an expected cost of nearly $1 billion, including its purchase price. A few highlights:
- The elaborate and often confusing bridges of the former mall have already been demolished, opening up an attractive corridor and revealing city views through the development’s center; though Turner Construction’s Project Supervisor did indicate that Horton Plaza’s iconic, tiled, black and white striped loggia will be retained (seen here before demolition of the mall commenced).
- Originally built for the mall, subterranean truck wells that are fully sound-proofed for late night unloading were an extravagance that would never be built today. As such, they are a uniquely valuable feature.
- The massive space formerly occupied by Macy’s offers a rare advantage: substantial on-site warehouse space, so that all materials needed over the coming year can be purchased in advance to assure availability. A further benefit for the subs working there: the space is air-conditioned!
- The 5-story space formerly occupied by Nordstrom is now 10 stories high. Its direct access to the parking structure, as Nordstrom had required for its shoppers, is expected to be very appealing to future office tenants.
- Focusing on sustainability, the property will maintain San Diego’s first, private blackwater system. Water will be used for the cooling system, landscaping and flushing toilets – 3 uses, before it goes to the sewer system.
- Finally, a portion of the property’s ground level is actually dirt – very unusual for a mall. It will allow the developer to install mature trees and park space.
Overall, I was impressed and thoroughly enjoyed what was a wonderful opportunity to get an early look at this 9-acre redevelopment.