Monthly Archives: July 2014

Pinnacle Rises Near East Village Pocket Park

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

Local artist Christopher Konecki contributed to the project with this mural. You can catch some of his other work at SILO in Makers Quarter and Waypoint Public.

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.

East Village

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.

East Village

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.

Half Door Brewing Company Converting Old House in East Village

We noticed some new activity at Ninth and Island while on our walk through the East Village this week. After some delays, Half Door Brewing Company appears to be moving forward with its plans to remodel an old white house on the corner, built in 1906.

Half Door Brewing Company

The brewhouse has actually been in the works for a while now, as San Diego Magazine first reported the project in 2012. It comes from the Drayne family, who also operate The Field in the Gaslamp. Since we took these photos on Thursday, San Diego Streets reader Alex W. wrote in to report that a “Coming Soon: Half Door Brewing Co.” banner has been posted out front.

Half Door Brewing Company

In February, Eater San Diego posted a design rendering, anticipating an opening by August. That date seems to have been pushed back because construction appears to only be in the beginning stages.

Half Door Brewing Company

A blog post on the brewpub’s website described it as, “where west coast meets emerald isle.” While they plan to keep their Irish ancestry in mind and offer traditional stouts and lagers, they will most definitely feature IPAs to reflect the San Diego beer scene.

In Hillcrest, It’s Out with the Old

We knew it was coming, but didn’t think it would happen so quickly. The big news in Hillcrest last week was the demolition of the old Egyptian Garage site at Park and Robinson. In recent years, this site became a bit of an eyesore after auto shop Advantec took over.

In case you missed it, check out this video of the demolition. Jonathan Segal, the developer behind the new mystery project, has also been sharing photos of the demolition on his blog.

Hillcrest

Two historic columns from the original 1926 Egyptian Garage were the only pieces left standing at the site after major destruction last Tuesday, but have since been hauled away. We’re hoping that’s a sign that they’ll be incorporated into the new development. If you’re interested, The Journal of San Diego History has a great article on the Egyptian Revival architecture in this neighborhood.

Hillcrest

Hope these neighbors didn’t like their privacy, with their back patios suddenly exposed for all to see. Hey, at least they’re probably getting more sunlight through those windows now, right?

Hillcrest

In other demolition news, San Diego Streets reader Francisco Y. tipped us off to a site recently cleared out at Normal and Harvey Milk, across from the Hillcrest DMV office.

Hillcrest

The rather large space was previously the home of the Union of Operating Engineers.

Hillcrest

This old house on the corner is the last remaining structure on the lot. The construction fence surrounds this property as well, but we’re not sure if it’s staying or going. Maybe someone will take that shopping cart back to Trader Joe’s, at least.

Hillcrest

Close by, we’re also not sure what’s going on at Hillcrest Village Square. (Yeah, we didn’t know that deteriorating strip mall had a name, either.) Fencing went up around the buildings last week.

Hillcrest

Signs along University Avenue say the businesses are still open during construction, which makes us wonder if the place is just being re-skinned. It could certainly use some renovating.

Hillcrest

Gossip Grill, owned by Mo’s Universe, moved from its original location in this shopping center to its current location at Vermont and University in 2013. Mo’s Universe also operates Hillcrest Brewing Company here.

Oldest House in Little Italy to Become Wine Room

Back in 2008, when San Diego architect Jonathan Segal unveiled plans to develop a tiny 50-by-200-foot lot at India and Fir, there was a chance that it would force Little Italy’s oldest home to move to Sherman Heights. Luckily, that never happened. The A.W. Pray House, a Gothic Victorian built in 1888, stayed on the block after all.

Final plans for The Q, a 7-story mixed-use development, called for the house to be relocated from its original location on the Kettner Blvd side of the block to its current site on India Street. It underwent a massive restoration and was designated a historical landmark.

M Winehouse

Local entrepreneur Ruth Melero fell in love with the house and opened her first upscale clothing store, Melero Boutique & Gallery, in December 2009. Since then, you might say that the house has remained one of the cutest landmarks in Little Italy.

M Winehouse

Now, the little old house is in for something new once again. Melero plans to relaunch the space as an intimate wine tasting room called M Winehouse. She told Giving Back Magazine that she wants it to be reminiscent of the old cafes she’s seen while traveling around the world, with a classic interior to complement the age of the house.

M Winehouse

Look for M Winehouse to open by the end of the year.

Our First Peek at the New Indigo Grill

We’ve been following the renovations at Indigo Grill since it closed for a makeover in April. After a few delays, the doors were finally open for business yesterday evening.

Indigo Grill

Here’s your first peek at the new bar area. The seats don’t look very comfortable, but we’ll have to try them out for ourselves.

Indigo Grill

On our first pass by the patio, we actually thought it was still under construction. Indeed, they were still cleaning up and completing some finishing touches, but later we saw diners seated here. There’s also a new fire pit to the right, on the corner of the patio.

Indigo Grill

Under the neon sign, what used to be the entrance is now a huge window looking out into the expanded patio area. The entrance can now be found on the south side along India Street.

Indigo Grill

What do you think of the new look? We’ll be back soon to check out the updated menu and see the new decor up close.

`