One of the most dramatic additions to the Downtown San Diego skyline is rising above the East Village. Vancouver-based Pinnacle International is building two 45-story residential towers at 15th and J, an underdeveloped part of the neighborhood just a few blocks east of the new Central Library.
The project includes commercial space at ground level in each of the towers, as well as a large public park. On the northwest corner of the block, Texas-based Stella Public House and Halcyon are also working on a shared restaurant space with a large patio overlooking the new park.
With about 24 stories built so far, they’re just barely getting started on the first tower. Believe it or not, they still have about 21 floors to go. The project is sure to bring a new energy to a part of the East Village that needs some love.
Nearby, we finally got our first look at the Pocket Park—the new community space wedged between The Mission cafe and a future restaurant (more on that later). The pocket park is an example of placemaking, a movement that aims to transform underutilized spaces into public places that benefit the community.
Property owner HP Investors collaborated with Downtown San Diego Partnership, the East Village Association, and RAD Labs to convert this former parking lot into a miniature park. With the large park at Pinnacle still a ways out, the pocket park is filling a gap (literally) in the neighborhood.
A few months ago, the collaborators asked the community what they wanted to happen with the vacant lot. The demand for some sort of garden or park was clear. With that, the lot was transformed into a unique gathering space that seems perfectly quirky for the East Village.
The letters you see on those recycled wooden palettes actually make up a giant word search. We didn’t get to see the park in action since it was closed during our visit, but there’s no doubt that it’s a wonderful place for residents to gather outside or let their kids run loose.
Next door to the pocket park at 122 J Street, a company called Ramla USA recently took over the large building previously occupied by CrossFit East Village. Eater San Diego reported in April that the Japanese-based company operates restaurants all over the world and plans to open a Japanese restaurant here in the near future.
With all these changes coming to these underdeveloped blocks of the East Village, it’ll be interesting to see how the neighborhood continues to evolve.