Makers Quarter: An Innovative District For The Creative
Makers Quarter is a unique neighborhood within downtown San Diego’s East Village, distinguished by its creative ethos and promotion of local artists and makers. We caught up with Makers Quarter urban planner Stacey Pennington, founder of SLP Urban Planning, to learn about the evolution of the new district and get an update.
Stacey is among the all-star cast of innovative real estate professionals presenting at Bisnow's San Diego Future of Real Estate event Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina in Downtown SD.
She tells us three Makers Quarter projects are celebrating groundbreakings in 2016. Locally based L2HP, a JV of Lankford & Associates, HP Investors and Hensel Phelps, revealed the new district's master plan last fall.
Ultimately, this innovation district will provide 60k SF of open space; 250k SF of retail; 700k SF of residential (812 units); and 1M SF of small floor-plate creative office for entrepreneurs, creative professionals and creators of things.
The first project to break ground was Broadstone Makers Quarter, a 265-unit residential mixed-use project with 5,100 SF of ground-level retail. Block D (above) will follow, breaking ground this summer to provide 50k SF of creative office space and retail. Street Lights Makers Quarter (below), another residential mixed-use project with 293 units and 22k SF of retail, is slated to break ground this fall.
With a mission to cultivate a greater innovative community for San Diego, L2HP aims to preserve the existing Maker spirit that thrives among the surrounding local businesses, while consciously developing lifestyle, residential and business properties designed to reflect the artistic integrity of the neighborhood.
Makers Quarter’s guiding principles are being applied in various ways. The Coliseum (above), San Diego’s first boxing arena, is being repurposed and integrated with ground-up development and activated open space to create a sense of place. The site will have a mix of civic and retail amenities, an employment hub and neighborhood housing. “The project is designed to create a meaningful hub of tech, innovation and creative space to serve entrepreneurs and the creative movement,” Stacey explains.
Makers Quarter was launched in 2013 with a community art event at Warehouse 1425, now home to Fuse Integration, an initial Makers Quarter tenant focused on the nexus between defense, technology and innovation.
In May 2013, a 10k SF vacant parking lot was repurposed to create SMARTS Farm, the first community garden in Downtown. Stacey says this garden, with the vision and leadership of local nonprofit Humane Smarts, has engaged 2,500 local children so far, teaching them about gardening, nutrition, science, community and art.
In September 2013, SILO was created, transforming an underutilized dirt lot into a community venue and arts hub. Since then, over 70,000 people have been engaged in the community through innovative collaborations like El Henry, a WOW production in summer 2014 by La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Repertory Theater. SILO has demonstrated the importance of arts and culture as the heart of the future of the neighborhood and an essential part of the overarching goals for economic development, says Stacey.
The district includes several operational maker-driven businesses, including Moniker Warehouse (above) and Monkey Paw brewery. Looking to the future, Makers Quarter will continue to create a growing community of artistic endeavors, ideas, resources and creative learning opportunities, where San Diegans can live, work, play and thrive.
Hear more from Stacey and other professionals at Bisnow's San Diego Future of Real Estate event Thursday, beginning at 7:30am with breakfast and networking at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina, 1590 Harbor Island Dr. Sign up here!