The Guru Guide: All things 92101
The Guru Guide » Downtown San Diego Living (Page 2)

Comic-Con in San Diego: No ticket? No problem.

July 23, 2010

You really don’t need a ticket to Comic-Con to have fun in downtown San Diego this weekend.  Here’s a link to a great NBC San Diego article for Comic-Con events taking place outside the Convention Center.  And if you ask me, the free people-watching is the most fun of all.  Just grab a window seat or sit outside at Mary Jane’s Coffee Shop, Lou & Mickey’s, or Acqua al 2, order some food and drinks, and enjoy the show.  Heck, I saw actor Jerry O’Connell of Stand By Me, Sliders, Jerry Maguire, and Crossing Jordan fame when I was just walking down the street minding my own business.

Actor Jerry O'Connell Comic-Con Downtown San Diego 92101

Downtown San Diego is a walker’s paradise

July 15, 2010

Whether you’re a young professional looking to enjoy the nightlife or an empty-nester looking to get rid of your car, buying a condo in downtown San Diego can mean racking up some serious miles on your pedometer.  And that’s a good thing.  When gas hit $5 a gallon just a little while ago, I didn’t even know it.  If I “lose” something it just means it’s in my dusty car in the garage that I haven’t touched for days.

Walk to the grocery store (Ralphs or Alberstons), walk to Petco Park to see the Padres play, walk to Little Italy to dine at fabulous Bencotto, walk around the Embarcadero and watch the sailboats cruise buy, walk to Horton Plaza to do some shopping, walk . . . .  Are you getting the picture?  The walkability of downtown San Diego is amazing.  When I’m walking around, I usually feel sorry for those individuals trying to find a place to park their metal coffins.

The website (“”Find a Walkable Place to Live”) consistently gives downtown San Diego addresses scores in the 90s on a scale from zero to 100.  Definitely a “walkers paradise” as opposed to their “car dependent” rating”.  Give downtown San Diego living a try.  You’ll be hooked.  And on foot.

Navy Broadway Complex redevelopment victory

July 8, 2010

No need to get all legally mumbo jumbo about a recent appellate court decision but the ruling does mean that redevelopment along downtown’s waterfront is closer to becoming a reality.  Despite opposition efforts by the Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, the court ruled that preparation of another environmental impact review (“EIR”) by the City of San Diego is not necessary for the Navy Broadway Complex to move forward.  Manchester, the developer spearheading the redevelopments efforts, is represented by the local law firm of Cooley LLP.

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An EIR was completed in 1992 when city officials entered into an agreement with the Navy.  The Navy then signed a long-term lease to develop the parcel in 2006.  Legal challenges have continued to delay the project.  Opponents to the redevelopment alleged that there have been changes to the project and/or area that merit a new report.  The court disagreed.

Redevelopment will ultimately mean a cleaner, better, revitalized waterfront.  Although neighboring high-rises will have some concerns about views being impacted (for example, Electra, Park Place, Grande North & South), overall the Navy Broadway Complex should add value in terms of neighborhood improvement – ugly buildings will go away and in their place will be hotels, retail, and restaurants in a very convenient location.

Don’t Trash Downtown San Diego

April 21, 2010

Sure.  I know.  It’s a city.  I get that.  But why do people feel the need to litter?  Downtown San Diego is an urban but idyllic paradise with perfect weather where you can catch a rock show, see a ballgame, and eat at a world class restaurant.  (For the record, I’ve done all three in one night.)  Or better yet, you can just go for a stroll and people watch for free.  It’s not like you’re going to freeze or get wet.  Just don’t forget a light jacket after the sun goes down.

To combat the inevitable lawbreakers (Did somebody say smokers?  Or pedicab drivers?  Or cigarette smoking pedicab drivers?  Don’t get me started.), the city has its own troops at Clean & Safe.  Not only does this amazing group pick up trash and power wash sidewalks but they also serve as additional eyes and ears for the San Diego Police Department.  Clean & Safe works hard in all of 92101 with the exception of Little Italy (which has its own Association). Keeping litter off the street keeps litter out of the ocean, which is one of the main reasons many of us live here.

And one more thing.  If you’re tired of seeing trash on the train tracks, let BNSF Railway know!  There’s nothing the citizenry can do in this arena except to hold them responsible for maintenance of their property.  Contact Lena Kent at BNSF and let your voice be heard.

Pantoja Park – An Urban Slice of Serenity

March 20, 2010

Pantoja Park Marina District Downtown San Diego 92101

Pantoja Park Marina District Downtown San Diego 92101

It is absolutely gorgeous today in downtown San Diego.  Perfect “hanging out at the park” weather.  So I couldn’t resist.  This is my favorite park!

Nestled in the heart of the Marina District in downtown San Diego is Pantoja Park.  Bounded by Columbia, India, F, & G Streets, Pantoja Park (or Plaza) is the city’s oldest, dating back to 1850.  The park is named for Spanish explorer Don Juan Pantoja y Arriaga who first charted San Diego Bay in 1782.

The park is surrounded by well-established low-rise condo buildings built in the ’80s and 90’s – The Watermark, Park Row, Marina Park, The Brickyard, and Columbia Place.

A statue stands at the front of the park but it’s not Pantoja.  Do you know who it is?  Do you have more trivia about the park?  Suggestions about how to make it better?  Let’s hear it!

Quiet Zone in downtown San Diego? I’ll believe it when I (don’t) hear it. UPDATE!

March 3, 2010

Downtown San Diego Quiet Zone

Downtown San Diego Quiet Zone

Anyone living in downtown San Diego knows that the freight trains can be a nuisance whether they’re blasting their horns at noon or midnight.  Although I’ll believe it when I (don’t) hear it, some great progress has been made since I last addressed this topic. According to Scott Johnson, CCDC Project Coordinator for the San Diego Quiet Zone on February 27, 2010:

* Bids were opened on February 25, 2010 as scheduled
* Five submittals were received
* “The low bid was well under CCDC engineers estimate”
* City to review the bids
* CCDC is looking at the qualifications of other personnel that had been submitted to work on the project
* It will take the city about 3 weeks to go through the scope process before they will make a recommendation that the contractor has met all the reqirements and is a responsive bidder

If we ever get it, the San Diego Quiet Zone should improve not only our sleep patterns but also our property values as the train noise is a common objection to living downtown. Stay tuned for more updates . . . .

The New U.S. Federal Courthouse in Downtown San Diego

February 21, 2010

What used to be the Hotel San Diego on the south side of Broadway between State and Union Streets in downtown San Diego will someday be the new U.S. Federal Courthouse.  But when will that happen?

New U.S. Federal Courthouse in Downtown San Diego

New U.S. Federal Courthouse in Downtown San Diego

According to the CCDC interactive project map, the estimated completion date is Summer 2012.  Per GSA, the contractor for phase 1 pre-construction is Hensel Phelps.

So stay tuned.  It will become something.  But when and what remain to be seen. And a lot of that depends on federal funds being appropriated to the project. Overall, it should improve downtown San Diego and the neighborhood but I’ll forever miss using Union Street to get in and out of the Marina District.

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