Horton Plaza

Demolition Underway to Transform Horton Plaza Into Tech Hub

The once-glamorous mall of the '80s and '90s has faded in the past decade

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It’s an odd site in Downtown San Diego. Demolition workers are slowly taking apart the once heralded Horton Plaza mall to make way for a new $330 million high-tech office campus and lifestyle center.

Most of the demolition for what will become The Campus at Horton can be seen from Horton Plaza Park at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue. The rest of the mall is surrounded by existing buildings and a parking garage.

It was like going to the Museum of Dead Malls.

James Richardson, Downtown San Diego Resident

Horton Plaza opened to the public in 1985 as one of the only destinations in Downtown.

“The glory, the glamour, and the glitz it brought to San Diego,” exclaimed Oscar Carlson. “We lived in Oceanside when it opened, but we came down frequently just for the experience.”

Its unique architecture made it special from other malls in the county, Scott Davis added. The Los Angeles Times even called it a landmark of urban design.

As Dennis Morgino reports, media from around the world traveled for the opening of the shopping center in the heart of downtown San Diego on August 9, 1985.

“It’s not like your traditional mall where you’re going down a straight throughway. This was more of a maze,” Davis said. “And then it just turned into disrepair over the years.”

Now, it's a sight in itself, but not much to behold.

“It was like a Twilight Zone,” described James Richardson. “It was like going to the Museum of Dead Malls.”

A developer purchased the mall for $175 million in 2018 and immediately started working on plans to redevelop the site.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens,” said Richardson, who lives Downtown.

“Sounds like it’s going to be mixed-use. I think a lot of office space,” said Lisa Sahney, who also moved Downtown two years ago. “I hope it happens sooner than we think.”

Renderings Released of Proposed Horton Plaza Tech Hub

A rendering of Horton Plaza, once it's redeveloped.Rendering courtesy of Stockdale Capital Partners
A rendering of Horton Plaza, once it's redeveloped.

The redeveloped mall will actually have about 700,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of retail focusing on food, beverage and health and wellness as opposed to traditional clothing retailers.

The Los Angeles-based commercial real estate developer, Stockdale Capital Partners, hopes the project will attract Silicon Valley technology companies.

predicted the project would be completed by 2022.

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