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SDfan Aug 1, 2014 8:33 PM

Nooooooooo!

Quote:

Fulton out as top city planner
Noted national planner leaving for Rice University in Texas
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/...g-rice-resign/

Planning Director Bill Fulton is leaving San Diego to head Rice University's urban research institute, marking another San Diego loss to Texas.

Fulton, whom former Mayor Bob Filner appointed in June 2013, is scheduled to join the Kinder Institute for Urban Research this fall, according to the announcement from the university Friday.

"He brings an extraordinary breadth of political, academic and urban planning experience," said Rice University President David Leebron. "The Kinder Institute is the lynchpin of our commitment to making a differece in the future of Houston, and I am confident that Bill, working together with our outstanding faculty, will enable it to achieve those aspirations and more."

Fulton, whose last day with the city will be Aug. 30, was quoted in the announcement as saying Houston will be a "major laboratory in the search to make cities more prosperous and livable."

spoonman Aug 1, 2014 8:48 PM

As much as I love the idea of having Bill Fulton as a city planner, he hasn't had much success in getting his message across (although I know that also depends on others at the city as well).

While this is sad news, I can only hope that he is replaced with someone of the same mindset, that can better articulate a vision for the city. I just hope that we bring in the right person.

tyleraf Aug 1, 2014 9:54 PM

That's too bad. I was hoping Fulton would be able to make some progress in this city. I hope Faulconer chooses a good replacement for him. Although it is highly unlikely, I'd love to see Fred Kent be Fulton's replacement.

tyleraf Aug 1, 2014 11:35 PM

This is turning into a bad day for SD. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/...onstitutional/

spoonman Aug 1, 2014 11:36 PM

Tough day today. Looks like the convention center expansion is toast...at least for now. Thanks Cory Briggs.


From the UT
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/...onstitutional/

Ruling threatens convention center expansion

In a court ruling that could doom the city's plans for an expanded convention center, a panel of judges Friday said the hotel tax to finance the $520 million project is unconstitutional.At issue was the legality of a hotel room surcharge already approved two years ago by the city's hotel owners to generate the bulk of the revenues needed to pay for a much larger convention center.

The judges concluded that "while we understand that the city would like to expand the convention center, we are duty bound to uphold the provisions of the California Constitution and the City Charter that require that the city's registered voters approve the special tax at issue in the case." Although a Superior Court judge ruled more than a year ago that the tax is legal, his decision was appealed by opponents who claimed that the levy should have been put to a public citywide vote.

The city has held off collecting the hotel tax and undertaking design and construction of the expansion, awaiting the resolution of outstanding litigation.The California Coastal Commission already has approved the project, which calls for the center to grow by an additional 220,150 square feet in exhibit hall space, 101,500 square feet of meeting rooms and nearly 80,000 square feet of ballroom space.

tyleraf Aug 1, 2014 11:55 PM

Yea. I guess we better start talking to the Chargers about the dual use stadium.

spoonman Aug 1, 2014 11:59 PM

Actually the timing is very good. The bad thing is that the project would have to be completely redesigned. However, if the dual-use facility is on the east side of Harbor Drive, the Coastal Commission can't do a damn thing about it.

tyleraf Aug 2, 2014 12:13 AM

For sure hopefully they can workout a nice layout that will work for conventioneers.

HurricaneHugo Aug 2, 2014 3:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tyleraf (Post 6676622)
I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but I keep seeing articles saying that San Diego is in contention to receive a MLS team. I wonder who is behind this and if they hope to put the team in a new Chargers Stadium.

Move Chivas USA (worst attendance in the league) to San Diego and re-brand them as the SD Sockers.

Though I don't know where we would build a stadium, maybe upgrade USD's stadium?

SDCAL Aug 2, 2014 4:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crackertastik (Post 6676565)
Montage is new to me, but makes for potentially 3 5-star hotels Downtown. Rumor has it Manchester is in talks with Mandarin. The port wants the Lane Field South site to be luxury and it seems to be going in that direction from what I hear. And this Montage makes 3.

Very interesting. I think the north embarcadero sites are the better sites for luxury personally, gaslamp detracts a tad from luxury in my mind. The waterfront helps too.

I'm not a big fan of the design of the Manchester project, but if he is able to get a Mandarin-Oriental on that site it would be amazing. I have stayed at a couple, very cool hotels and rooms with views of San Diego Bay would be awesome. Currently, there is one in SF and one in LV, I hope they decide to make SD and not LA their first footprint into SoCal.

I remember many years ago on this forum it was reported Mandarin-Oriental was looking at the UTC area, so they must have some interest in the SD area.

spoonman Aug 2, 2014 5:00 AM

...and the combined stadium/convention center discussion begins. God bless.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/...argers-moores/

Can you imagine Manchester, Spanos, and Moores going in on project? WOW.

Maybe Paul Jacobs can add a basketball arena while we're at it.

tyleraf Aug 2, 2014 5:26 AM

Haha true Spoonman, let us not forget Cory Briggs and his meddling and all of our politicians! I sure hope we can get plan b moving soon so we don't lose comic-con.

SDfan Aug 2, 2014 6:43 AM

Oh gawd. No more downtown stadium please. There isn't enough land in this city for high density development to waste on a stadium we'd use 8 times a year. I'd rather lose the chargers and Comic-Con if it meant keeping as much high density zoning availave for future San Diegans.

Leo the Dog Aug 2, 2014 7:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDfan (Post 6678102)
Oh gawd. No more downtown stadium please. There isn't enough land in this city for high density development to waste on a stadium we'd use 8 times a year. I'd rather lose the chargers and Comic-Con if it meant keeping as much high density zoning availave for future San Diegans.

I agree with you. We've discussed this before. I'd rather not see a mega-block fortress that's a deadzone. Imagine a Horton Plaza that is only open a dozen days a year.

SDCAL Aug 2, 2014 8:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDfan (Post 6678102)
Oh gawd. No more downtown stadium please. There isn't enough land in this city for high density development to waste on a stadium we'd use 8 times a year. I'd rather lose the chargers and Comic-Con if it meant keeping as much high density zoning availave for future San Diegans.

I agree with you on the Chargers, but what does Comic Con have to do with a football stadium!?

These are totally separate issues and I think it's irresponsible for developers or city officials to try and combine them so we end up losing EVERYTHING.

The convention center expansion needs to take place independently of a new football stadium, not just for Comic Con to remain, but also to attract new large conferences.

I admit I am ignorant to the law in this regard, but does the city council have the power to impose a tax themselves to move forward with the convention center expansion? Or is the only legally plausible avenue now a city-wide vote?

SDCAL Aug 2, 2014 8:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spoonman (Post 6678053)
...and the combined stadium/convention center discussion begins. God bless.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/...argers-moores/

Can you imagine Manchester, Spanos, and Moores going in on project? WOW.

Maybe Paul Jacobs can add a basketball arena while we're at it.

I don't think we should combine these. The Charger's have several options for both other locations within SD as well as leaving, but the convention center has one location and it must expand SOON. The convention center expansion is a critical must, whereas a charger's stadium is, in my opinion, "fluff". Yeah it would be nice but it's not vital to our economy the way the convention center is. Manchester, Spanos and Moores are all basically interested in lining their own pockets and I don't believe they have the best interests of our city at heart - we need our city government officials who supposedly work for "us" the citizens of this city to step in and get the convention center expanded. As far as the Chargers, I don't even care at this point if they stay or go.

spoonman Aug 2, 2014 2:47 PM

You may not care about the Chargers, but many do. The Chargers need a solution almost as bad as Comic-Con. Remember that at 8 games a year times 70,000 seats, that's 560,000 attendees. If 15% are from out of town, that is 84,000 attendees that may need hotel accommodations, dining, etc. Like Comic-Con, an NFL team provides us a lot of exposure and brings people here.

Unfortunately our citizenry is too short sighted to make any of these projects happen, and people on the city council will not pass measures to make this a reality for fear of reprisal. Face it, the same people that don't want you to have increased density and better transit, also don't want you to have an airport, convention center, or stadium. (NIMBY's -and their appointees-are why we can't have nice things!)

My opinion is that it is worth it to pony up a couple large underutilized mega-blocks only IF it helps get a convention center and stadium done and IF the project can be done to blend into the existing area and further accelerate growth in EV. But, the design has to be good for this to work. We don't want to waste space for additional density, or ruin/wall off sections of downtown. If given a choice, I would build a new Chargers stadium in MV and add development on that site, while moving ahead on the CC plan. But i'm open to downtown if it is the only way to get it done

The big question is will the city have an easier, or harder time getting voters to approve a dual-use project?? At least Spans would be kicking in some money, but the total cost is much higher.

SDfan Aug 2, 2014 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spoonman (Post 6678202)
You may not care about the Chargers, but many do. The Chargers need a solution almost as bad as Comic-Con. Remember that at 8 games a year times 70,000 seats, that's 560,000 attendees. If 15% are from out of town, that is 84,000 attendees that may need hotel accommodations, dining, etc. Like Comic-Con, an NFL team provides us a lot of exposure and brings people here.

I agree that the NFL and the Chargers do give us a lot of exposure ("free advertising") but I'm not convinced it's worth giving up rare high-density land use. Sure, we might not be on Monday Night Football, but regardless, people will be having children and those future generations are going to need housing. NFL vs. Housing hmmm...

Quote:

Big projects like the stadium and CC will likely not get done expeditiously unless self interested big name developers are helping to push this along. Our citizenry is too short sighted to make any of this happen, and people on the city council will not pass measures to make this a reality for fear of reprisal. Face it, the same people that don't want you to have increased density and better transit, also don't want you to have an airport, convention center, or stadium. (NIMBY's -and their appointees-are why we can't have nice things!)
I agree. I think we need to pick and choose our battles more wisely. Convincing (or forcing) NIMBY's to accept higher densities and more housing should be a higher priority than convincing them to build elites publicly-funded sky-boxes.

Quote:

So...my opinion is that it is worth it to pony up a couple large underutilized mega-blocks to get a convention center and stadium done (remember that this will also free Qualcomm in Mission Valley for high density development). I also support this view because I believe that the project can be done to blend into the existing area and will further accelerate growth in EV. But, the design has to be good for this to work. Nobody wants to see a project waste space for additional density, or ruin/wall off sections of downtown. (I was just lamenting our torn up street grid yesterday. Things like Pantoja Park were a huge "fail".)
The problem is there are only a few, large underutilized mega blocks left. After that, zip. I've gone over our future planning options. No one around downtown will accept densities increases. Nowhere in the city. Meanwhile, the Chargers should park their stadium in Mission Valley, Chula Vista, or wherever else (LA, San Antonio, Las Vegas) while we retain the slivers of land we have for high-density development.

Quote:

I want room for high rises as much as the next guy, but as I think about it, high rises can be built in Downtown (and in this project), Mission Valley, UTC, and parts of Kearny Mesa. Eventually we will probably add another name or two to this list. I say suck it up and get it done. There is still a lot of land for development, and this project will help spur more growth and help re-centralize the city.
You're not going to build housing on top of a stadium, or around it given the land constraints - this isn't PETCO, this is a smaller footprint. Incorporating high-rise or multi-use development around a new stadium still doesn't address the wasted space the stadium itself takes up.

UTC is pretty much built out, with all new high-rise development approved and locked in. Westfield (2-3 towers), Costa Verde (4 towers), La Jolla Commons (1 tower) and that's about it. The community won't take any more development - something admitted by Costa Verde's developers when they sought approval for their master plan 7 years ago. And these aren't downtown densities, these are UTC level projects (15-24 stories at most), nowhere near what downtown could build in FAR and height.

Mission Valley does have a lot of potential, but with a max height of 250' it's not very spectacular, nor realistic (100' average is more likely). It's also not a cohesive urban environment, as we all know. There is no grid, no walkable neighborhoods (some exist as standalone projects, such as Civita or Portofino, but they aren't connected or cohesive). Mission Valley will take in a lot of the new housing we need, but it's not going to be downtown - it's just not designed for it given the geography and history of planning.

Kearny Mesa will be lucky to get 6 story structures. Nothing will approach the Spectrum Center tower (what is that? 12 stories?), not after the airport NIMBY's forced it to chop off two floors. The area will take in more density and housing, but like Mission Valley, it's not a true urban center like downtown.

If neighborhoods like Hillcrest, Uptown, and Golden Hill were more responsible and started accepting higher density projects (not towers, but mid-rises) then I would be more comfortable with the Chargers stadium downtown. But they aren't, they're doing the opposite. Those are urban neighborhoods with designs similar to downtown in infrastructure and layout. But they insist on bubble wrapping themselves, and those decisions are going to last us another 30 years.

If I could keep the Chargers, I would. I don't even mind paying for some of it. I'll vote yes on a reasonable proposition. But not if it's for a downtown stadium/convention center hybrid. There are no high-density lands to waste in this city of the small minded. So adios Chargers, and goodbye Comic-Con - more housing and sustainable urban design for future generations of San Diegans are more important than Monday Night Football or a weekend of cosplay.

Leo the Dog Aug 2, 2014 4:53 PM

I think Mission Valley is the best location for a low-use suburban stadium that requires a huge amount of parking.

Here's an idea: Why not build the stadium in Chula Vista, near a Trolley stop, along the 5, south of the 54, maybe near H St. Look at Google Maps of the area. So much open land that really needs a shot to the arm. Plenty of room to tailgate and redevelop the Bayfront down there. SD would lose the Chargers, but would save and create huge areas of land to be developed within SD city limits.

spoonman Aug 2, 2014 5:24 PM

SDFan...you make a lot of good points. That said, for all we know those mega-blocks could be filled with 6 story boxes anyway. Or it could be a bus yard for the next 30 years. It's painful to give away the land downtown, but I think it's also painful to bet on what might or might not happen.

The challenges of density are certainly frustrating. All things aside, my guess is that the neighborhoods I mentioned (UTC, MV, KM) will continue to get some high rises over the next several years, while we see 5-7 story stuff continue to fill out some of the older denser (traditionally) neighborhoods. Eventually the NIMBY's will no longer find their neighborhoods desirable (or will, retire, die, etc.) and leave. At that point it will become more politically viable to increase densities in those areas. Not sure of my point here, but you are right in that downtown will continue to be the densest area by far, for a long time to come.


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