Mira Mesa

City of San Diego approves lease to revive long-vacant Mira Mesa Epicentre

The county — which has set aside over $10.25 million for the project — will renovate the building and bring it up to code, the city said

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The San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a 45-year lease with the San Diego County government to revive a vacant recreational facility, the Epicentre, in the Mira Mesa neighborhood.

The city government will lease the property to the county for $1 a year, a statement said.

Once a popular youth venue located at 8450 Mira Mesa Blvd., the Epicentre closed in 2016 after the city of San Diego terminated its lease.

In 2021, the county Board of Supervisors approved taking over the facility, along with several million dollars to redevelop it.

The county — which has set aside over $10.25 million for the project — will renovate the building and bring it up to code, the city said.

The county will also provide on-site activities and programming, including performing arts and music, special events, drop-in activities for youth and homework assistance, according to city officials.

Some programming will be created in partnership with Mira Mesa High School, "with the goal of creating a vibrant civic hub for residents of the community and providing safe and fun recreational opportunities for local youth," according to city officials.

The Epicentre, once a teen activity center along Mira Mesa Boulevard, is now a far cry from what was once intended, NBC 7's Dave Summers reports.

The city "conducted robust community outreach through local community groups, engagement with Mira Mesa High School, and a community survey that resulted in more than 1,000 responses," officials said.

The 8,086-square-foot, one-story structure was built in 1975 to serve as the Mira Mesa Library.

After the library was relocated, the nonprofit group Harmonium leased the property from 1998 to 2016 for use as a teen center. After that lease was terminated, the city sought out another operator for the property in 2017, but did not receive any offers.

The Mira Mesa Community Planning Group unanimously supported the proposed facility concept on May 20.

Supervisors will consider approving the facility agreement at their July 17 meeting. An approval would allow the county to begin renovating the property this fall, with an opening scheduled in late 2025 or early 2026.

City Councilman Kent Lee, whose district includes Mira Mesa, said in a statement the city-county partnership "will deliver on a decades-long community dream."

People are calling for a major overhaul of the building, which has been vacant and deteriorating for years. NBC 7's Shellye Leggett reports.

Lee thanked county supervisors and residents "who have lent their voice in support of this project, from local community groups to students at Mira Mesa High School.

"I've heard from so many residents asking when this property will be brought back to life, and this lease agreement is one of the final steps needed to reactivate this building for the benefit of the community," Lee added.

Christina Bibler, city Economic Development Department director, said in a statement that she and others "look forward to the day when this location is once again a thriving center of activity, arts and culture."

Councilwomen Vivian Moreno and Marni von Wilpert were absent Tuesday.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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