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Derek Apr 2, 2010 5:04 AM

I want renderings!

2SQ Apr 2, 2010 7:40 AM

Hi all, first time poster, long time lurker on these boards. This was posted just over a week ago on KGTV's Ch.10 website. This was kind of under the radar, so I'm not surprised not so many know about this:

Asian-Themed District Planned For Downtown

POSTED: 6:11 pm PDT March 23, 2010
UPDATED: 6:16 pm PDT March 23, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- A project for an Asian-themed district in downtown San Diego is now under way.

The color, tradition, the food -- soon, San Diegans may not have to go far to find the ambiance of a Chinatown. There are a few lanterns already up downtown, and banners have been designed.

"Our mission is to preserve Asian heritage in San Diego," said Bennett Peji of the Asian Pacific Historic Collaborative.

Centered at 3rd and Island avenues, the district will stretch about eight blocks. The $2.5 million project is funded by redevelopment dollars, and its intention is to make over an area rich in Asian heritage, dating back to the settlements of Chinese fishermen in the mid-1800s.

"The Chinese were the first to go, followed by Japanese in 1880-90s and then Filipinos in early 1900s," said Murray Lee of the Chinese Historical Museum.

One building, which served as a grocery in the late 1800s, remains standing on 3rd Ave. The hope is places like that can be part of a renaissance.

Project leaders would like to move in restaurants and shops to go with several museums. Leaders also said it won't be merely a "Chinatown."

"Shows three cultures working in harmony," said Peji.

A Chinese dragon, a Japanese fish and a Filipino water buffalo will all appear on a yet-to-be designed gateway and will serve as a meshing of Asian cultures and a first for a major city.

"To show that we have and will continue to work together," added Peji.

The question now is if a display of heritage transform into a vibrant area.

Parking remains a barrier, but sources told 10News three investors are already in talks to open Asian-themed businesses.

Most of the renovations like Asian-themed streetlights, paving and landscaping will be put in later this year.

The gateway will be in place by the end of next year.


http://www.10news.com/news/22925514/detail.html

mongoXZ Apr 2, 2010 2:24 PM

Welcome 2SQ, I just hope they don't call it "AsiaTown":haha:

Land deal buoys convention center
Agreement may be catalyst for $753 million expansion

http://media.signonsandiego.com/img/...34634cbc5420f3

http://media.signonsandiego.com/img/...95d379f58af1c4
BY CRAIG GUSTAFSON, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2010 AT 12:05 A.M.

EARNIE GRAFTON / UNION-TRIBUNE

A complicated land deal has been reached that bolsters hope for a $753 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, a move viewed as crucial to preventing blockbuster events such as Comic-Con from fleeing to a different city.

Officials with the Port of San Diego and the convention center have agreed to work together for the expansion and a long-desired hotel after negotiating a deal with a private business group that controls the 7-acre bayfront plot in downtown San Diego where the two projects would be built.

The deal, which the Port Commission is expected to approve Tuesday, would remove a major barrier for the proposed expansion. Officials say the larger center, projected to open in 2015, would maintain San Diego’s status as a dominant player in the convention circuit.

“This is the first step that you have to do,” Mayor Jerry Sanders said. “You have to get everybody on the same page … and then we can go through and start refining costs, start refining what the design is going to be. But you can’t even do those things until you get this initial thing done.”

The expansion has been sought for nearly a decade. The center began operating at capacity in 2001, shortly after completion of its $216 million first expansion, and has turned away nearly 400 events in recent years. More than 80 percent of those events could have been accommodated if the venue had been larger.

The problem has been made vividly clear in recent months as Comic-Con organizers consider whether to move their pop-culture phenomenon out of San Diego, their longtime home, and send their 126,000 attendees to larger venues in Anaheim or Los Angeles for 2013 and beyond.

Carol Wallace, the center’s chief executive officer, said the port vote couldn’t come at a better time.

“The clock is ticking, as you’ve seen played out on all the comments about Comic-Con leaving San Diego because the center is too small,” she said. “This would show that we are moving forward and that San Diego is serious about an expansion of the convention center.”

If approved, the deal would essentially start what center officials say is an 18- to 24-month process in which they’ll seek public comment and opinion, study the expansion’s effect on the environment, design the building and, most important, figure out how to pay for it.

The proposed expansion calls for a contiguous third section to be built behind the existing center near the waterfront. It would provide an additional 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a third ballroom and 100,000 square feet of meeting rooms.

Those figures would give the center a total of 815,000 square feet of exhibit space, roughly the same as Anaheim’s center.

A mayoral task force recommended the expansion in September after issuing a report that showed the center generated $18 billion for the local economy and raised $364 million in tax revenue over the past 20 years.

Even longtime critics of civic spending, such as taxpayer advocate Richard Rider, say the project warrants closer examination because it would actually generate revenue for the city and help pay for public safety, parks and libraries.

The biggest challenge so far has been to acquire the land for the expansion.

The nonprofit that runs the convention center agreed in November to buy out the current leaseholder for $13.5 million. The property is controlled by Fifth Avenue Landing LLC, a company run by Ray Carpenter and Art Engel. They had tried for years to build a 250-room hotel on the site without success.

The deal calls for the center to pay $1 million upfront to the businessmen to secure the property. Over the next four years, it will pay $500,000 each year and then make a balloon payment to close the sale in the fifth year. The center has the option to back out at any time if its expansion plan falls through.

The port, which approved the original lease to Fifth Avenue Landing because it administers the land for the state, has final say over the new agreement, so it has been negotiating with the company over the terms. The subjects of those talks haven’t been revealed although it’s no secret that port officials want a hotel, one with perhaps as many as 500 rooms, on the property as part of any expansion.

The proposal before the port Tuesday does three things: It approves the lease transfer to the center; it gives Fifth Avenue Landing a new 30-year lease to operate its water-taxi business on the property; and it couples the proposed hotel and center expansion as they move forward.

The California Coastal Commission would have to approve any project before construction could begin.

Port Commissioner Steve Cushman, who supports the proposal, said the deal is one of many moving pieces that will have to come together for the expansion to happen, most notably how to pay for it.

“It’s a necessary step. There’s no reason to cobble together funds if you don’t have somewhere to put it,” Cushman said.

Once the land is acquired, the focus will turn to finances.

The port paid for the convention center’s original construction costs of $164 million in 1989. The port also contributed to the 2001 expansion, and the city borrowed money to pay its share. The proposed expansion will likely have to go forward without help from either agency because neither can afford it.

Instead, Sanders, who will lead the effort to identify revenue sources, said he expects hoteliers and other businesses that would directly benefit from the expansion to help defray the costs. That likely means increased fees on cab rides, hotel stays and restaurant checks.

Cushman estimated that the city would need to raise between $50 million and $60 million annually to pay back loans on the proposed expansion.

Bob Nelson, the center’s board chairman, said the port vote will help spur discussion on how to finance the expansion.

“No one’s going to invest any effort or money into financing this without assurance that we’ve got a viable project,” Nelson said.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...ention-center/

eburress Apr 2, 2010 2:30 PM

I'm all for an Asian-themed district in San Diego for sure, but I thought we essentially already had one on Convoy. Why not put up a neighborhood gateway there?

So ignoring that minor detail, it seems odd that this new Asian-themed district would be established within the boundaries of the existing Gaslamp district and consists of only one or two buildings with Asian significance, and a whole lot of other purposes that are thoroughly not Asian-related. It will be the smallest "district" in the history of districts and seems to me to be at best very poorly conceived.

Edit -> Does it seem odd that the Gaslamp District's gateway is only two blocks away?

sandiegodweller Apr 2, 2010 3:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eburress (Post 4778114)
I'm all for an Asian-themed district in San Diego for sure, but I thought we essentially already had one on Convoy. Why not put up a neighborhood gateway there?

So ignoring that minor detail, it seems odd that this new Asian-themed district would be established within the boundaries of the existing Gaslamp district and consists of only one or two buildings with Asian significance, and a whole lot of other purposes that are thoroughly not Asian-related. It will be the smallest "district" in the history of districts and seems to me to be at best very poorly conceived.

I thought Manila Mesa was the current "Asia Town".

UCSD would also be a better location.

eburress Apr 2, 2010 4:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 4778190)
I thought Manila Mesa was the current "Asia Town".

UCSD would also be a better location.

hahaha - that's what I'm saying!! There are a number of other parts of town in which an Asian District would be sooooo much more appropriate! This one-building Asian district downtown is lame. I can picture it now. "Hey honey...let's go down to the Asian District downtown and eat at Morton's Steakhouse!"

tdavis Apr 2, 2010 7:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 4778190)
I thought Manila Mesa was the current "Asia Town".

UCSD would also be a better location.

UCSD? What a bigoted statement! Just because a bunch of Asian students attend the school doesn't make the area rich in Asian tradition. The area downtown was picked as it is symbolical of the rich Asian heritage.

Grow up!

SDfan Apr 2, 2010 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdavis (Post 4778445)
UCSD? What a bigoted statement! Just because a bunch of Asian students attend the school doesn't make the area rich in Asian tradition. The area downtown was picked as it is symbolical of the rich Asian heritage.

Grow up!

Bigoted? How about true. UCSD has a large and influential Asian population, albeit they are mostly students. The site downtown does have a rich Asian tradition, it is just hard to imagine it in what has already been established (or rather, reestablished) as an entertainment district.

I think the idea is lovely though, and I look forward to seeing the gate being put up. It is definitely time San Diego has a formal Asian thematic center.

staplesla Apr 2, 2010 11:11 PM

Tasteless Comment! I'm constantly in awe at the stupidity of people.

The re-development & characterization of this area of downtown has to do with the history of the area, not the people living there. What history do Asians have with the UCSD area?

SDfan Apr 3, 2010 1:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by staplesla (Post 4778703)
Tasteless Comment! I'm constantly in awe at the stupidity of people.

The re-development & characterization of this area of downtown has to do with the history of the area, not the people living there. What history do Asians have with the UCSD area?

Tasteless? Stupidity? Exclamation points!

People on this forum are rather hot-blooded. Someone is always screaming about something instead of just having a discussion. Anyways...

UCSD has a large Asian community. You don't have to be a student to see that. I was just saying that it is true UCSD does have a large and influential Asian community, regardless of the history in the Marina District and Gaslamp Quarter. Calling another forumer "bigoted" isn't fair when their suggestion is just as valid as "Manila Mesa" (shockingly, I would have expected that term to be attacked first and foremost over UCSD).

Hope you guys can take a chill pill before you reply. :rainbow:

spoonman Apr 3, 2010 2:05 AM

Maybe Voice of Reason will weigh in on this...haha

staplesla Apr 3, 2010 5:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDfan (Post 4778857)
Tasteless? Stupidity? Exclamation points!

People on this forum are rather hot-blooded. Someone is always screaming about something instead of just having a discussion. Anyways...

UCSD has a large Asian community. You don't have to be a student to see that. I was just saying that it is true UCSD does have a large and influential Asian community, regardless of the history in the Marina District and Gaslamp Quarter. Calling another forumer "bigoted" isn't fair when their suggestion is just as valid as "Manila Mesa" (shockingly, I would have expected that term to be attacked first and foremost over UCSD).

Hope you guys can take a chill pill before you reply. :rainbow:

All I said was 'tasteless comment!' Another person used the term 'bigoted.' I'm just saddened every time I see such ignorant talk. People don't think before talking/writing, and about the consequences of their actions or the people that could be offended. I'm white, and thankfully don't have to put up with the crap other races go through. But I'll defend mankind and those treated less than another any day.

CoastersBolts Apr 3, 2010 6:36 PM

Loud noises!

Derek Apr 3, 2010 7:58 PM

:laugh:

sandiegodweller Apr 3, 2010 8:36 PM

Why don't you figure out the defintion of "bigot" before spouting off. Simply pointing out that a certain area of the community is occupied by a racial group/race isn't "bigoted" unless it is paired with intolerance.

The whole idea of artificially creating a new district representing one race/ethnic group is a reach. If the area around 3rd and J was so historically important to the Asian community it would have sprouted organically and shouldn't need to be mandated. Instead, Asian businesses have flocked to other parts of the county.

dl3000 Apr 4, 2010 3:13 PM

Jeez. UCSD, lots of Asians live there but not a good place for a Chinatownesque center obviously. Mira Mesa, lots of Asians live there and already establish businesses in the area, same for Convoy. 3rd and Imperial, probably very few Asians live there, some people want to honor the historic Asian presence, fine. I don't see what all the debate is about. Its just like how "real" chinatowns bleed into nearby neighborhoods. In SF a chunk of Little Italy has Asian businesses because the themed street furniture like what they have in mind for SD doesn't match the businesses it fronts. I frankly don't see it factoring much at all in the scheme of downtown.

HurricaneHugo Apr 5, 2010 1:38 AM

WOW that was strong!

I was at Geisel Library here at UCSD and that was pretty violent.

First I just sat and looked around just laughing, then it got stronger, my girl dove went under the table which made me think maybe I should too...

I think that's the first time I've actually gotten under a table during an earthquake...

I was waiting for the large panel glass to shatter but they didn't.

dl3000 Apr 5, 2010 2:12 AM

Current estimate is 7.2

http://quake.usgs.gov/recenteqs/

The map is lit up!

voice of reason Apr 5, 2010 5:03 AM

To the rescue.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by spoonman (Post 4778865)
Maybe Voice of Reason will weigh in on this...haha

I live in Little Italy and am active in the association and management of the community.

I have traveled to 58 countries (including 6 Asian) How many have you visited or do you just 'study 'bout' them in school?

I have an Asian daughter in law.

So am I an expert, no but I probably know more about the subject that the ones dribbling pablum out the corners of the mouths of the college crowd.

You cant waive a wand and create an ethnic neighborhood. It must have some historical significance, like Little Italy.

You need people with money willing to invest and you need the local municipality supporting the idea.

The area downtown has some activities around Chinese New Year and the Sunday street market. I dont think it will ever be much more than it is, but its fun to get a bit of Asian flare once-in-a-while.

Convoy has more of a chance since it has more businesses and has some inertia.

Glad I could come to your aid.

HurricaneHugo Apr 5, 2010 7:15 AM

Just reading on the "asian-district."

LOL

You just can't create an ethnic district just like that.

Just redevelop Convoy!


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