Parsing San Diego's Misguided Waterfront Plans

As Seattle considers ways to improve its waterfront, local architect and urban planner Mark Hinshaw evaluates a conflict brewing 1,250 miles to the south, for a lesson on what not to do with valuable downtown waterfront real estate.
February 15, 2012, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In San Diego, a battle is brewing between mayor Jerry Sanders and developer Doug Manchester over plans for a centrally located waterfront parcel, currently being used by the Port for marine cargo.

While industrial uses may no longer be the highest and best use for such prime real estate, Hinshaw, along with the mayor and several local San Diego groups, are rightfully dismayed by Manchester's vision for a new San Diego Chargers football stadium, along with an additional smaller arena, on the site. According to Hinshaw, Manchester has been using the front page of the venerable, 144-year-old San Diego Union-Tribune, which he purchased last year, to trumpet his vision.

From the perspective of Seattle, Hinshaw sees the kerfuffle down the coast as a lesson on how to approach waterfront redevelopment: not with over-sized mega projects, but with, "lots of things and activities - both big and small, elegant and gritty, artful and funky, composed and messy, cooked and raw. Seattle's great social stewpot is all about nurturing and celebrating the glorious whole that comes from many disparate parts."

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Published on Monday, February 13, 2012 in Crosscut
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