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First phase of mixed-use development breaks ground in San Diego

Peter Caulfield
First phase of mixed-use development breaks ground in San Diego
RIVERWALKSD.COM — The first phase of Riverwalk San Diego, a 200-acre transit-oriented mixed-use development, has broken ground. The project will transform the Riverwalk Golf Club in western Mission Valley into a 4,300-unit multifamily community.

The first phase of Riverwalk San Diego, a 200-acre transit-oriented mixed-use development, has broken ground in the center of San Diego.

When completed, the project will transform the Riverwalk Golf Club in western Mission Valley into a 4,300-unit multifamily community. The residences will be for rent and will range in size from studios to townhouses.

Riverwalk will also include 152,000 square feet of retail space, one million square feet of office space and 100 acres of parks and open space, including a 60-acre regional park on the San Diego River.

Transportation improvements will include intelligent traffic signals and new entryways on Friars Road and flood capacity improvements to Fashion Valley Road.

The developers of the project are Hines Interests Limited Partnership and USAA Real Estate.

In an announcement, Hines managing director Eric Hepfer said, “We brought together development, design, building and environmental experts, as well as local leaders to craft the Riverwalk vision. Hines is proud to be a part of bringing the community’s vision to life in Mission Valley.”

Phase one of Riverwalk San Diego is made up of 930 apartments in five buildings, plus 7,500 square feet of retail space and sidewalk improvements.

The retail space, which will be anchored by a grocery store, will include restaurants, bars, fitness studios and other stores and services.

Phase one will also include road widening, new traffic signals as well as sidewalk and bike lane improvements. The transportation work is expected to be completed in late 2023.

Phase one is slated for completion in early 2025. Clark Construction is the contractor.

The 18-hole Riverwalk Golf Course will remain open through the first phase of construction.

When all phases of Riverwalk have been completed, the project will be anchored by a new San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Green-Line trolley stop and town square at the center of the village.

The plan behind Riverwalk, which was created by Hines and the Levi-Cushman family landowners, incorporates input that was gathered over several years from over 100 stakeholder and community planning group meetings.

The project was approved in November 2020 by San Diego City Council.

Riverwalk is an example of the type of development that is being promoted by the recently updated City of San Diego’s Mission Valley Community Plan, which rezones the entire region to allow for more mixed-used development near the Green Line trolley.

The updated plan, which replaces an earlier version, has been designed to help guide development until 2050.

According to the plan, much of the land in Mission Valley will be designated for mixed-use development.

Said development will occur either through total redevelopment of existing sites or the creation of new uses that are combined with existing buildings of differing uses.

The objective of the plan is to allow the economy of Mission Valley to continue as it has while new housing is integrated into the region.

According to the authors of the plan, Mission Valley has some challenges that need to be addressed before the region can be transformed into “a truly great community.”

For example, they say, there aren’t enough conveniently located retail stores for the people living in Mission Valley’s residential neighborhoods to buy the goods and services they need.

In addition, the mobility infrastructure in Mission Valley is fragmented, largely because roadways that had been planned were not built. The missing infrastructure has led to out-of-direction travel as well as congestion and increased travel times.

Freeway congestion has trickled onto local residential streets because on- and off-ramps are unable to handle all the vehicles that want to use them.  

Furthermore, although Mission Valley is well cared for, the noise and pollution caused by the many nearby freeways “can lead to excessive noise and air pollution that can detract from the natural environment.”

Another challenge facing the region is that the development of many parts of Mission Valley was undertaken without taking into consideration their possible side-effects on neighboring properties.

Some areas have fragmented streetscapes. Not only are they hard on the eyes, they can also be hard to navigate.

“Many of these challenges can be addressed by implementing policies designed to retrofit the community into a thriving urban center,” say the authors of the Mission Valley Community Plan.

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