Parking Lot Transformation Project Asks Community for Input

A parking lot at 13th Avenue and J Street could soon become a small dog park or children's play area, depending on what the community wants there

What Do You Want Here

A small, plain parking lot in downtown San Diego’s East Village community will soon be transformed into a creative urban space with the help of some ideas from locals.

Right now, the parking lot at 13th Avenue and J Street is nothing really special (pictured below). However, a bright blue idea board might just change that. Recently, a sign was put up on the parking lot gate asking: “What Do You Want Here?”

In dozens of blank spots below, local residents have answered that question, suggesting everything from a pop-up park or dog park to a children’s play area.

The community project is spearheaded by Downtown San Diego Partnership in conjunction with the East Village Association, RAD Lab and HP Investors. It’s part of Downtown San Diego Partnership’s larger “urban placemaking” initiative, which looks to transform spaces throughout downtown San Diego into lively, engaging, urban areas.

“In dense urban neighborhoods like Downtown San Diego, space is at a premium,” said Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership, in a press release Thursday. “We need to look at public and private spaces in new ways and find innovative solutions that serve the community and create excitement about the Downtown experience. Where others see asphalt, we see opportunity.”

Sumeet Parekh, principal of HP Investors and owner of the property said he’s looking forward to revitalizing the space in a project that’s been in the making since last year.

“In evaluating different options to enhance this property, we recognized an opportunity to do something unique and cool that would also create a neighborhood amenity,” said Parekh.

“This is part of an international trend to transform urban spaces quickly and cost-effectively so you can eliminate blight and improve the quality of place for a community,” added David Loewenstein, chief operating officer of RAD Lab.

Over the next few months, the groups will work with the East Village Association to incorporate community feedback to produce a unique space that’s fun and useful to locals.

HP Investors will fund the improvements at the parking lot, while Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program has agreed to help supervise the site.

In the future, the Downtown Partnership will continue to look for new spaces to transform in downtown San Diego.

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