Edit ModuleShow Tags

Playing Ballpark


Published:

(page 1 of 5)

As 300 workers in hard hats grind steel, pour concrete and remain on high alert for shapely female pedestrians at the Padres ballpark construction site downtown, Jeff Phelps sits holed up in his dry-cleaning shop a couple of blocks away, dreading the daily mail drop.

His discount Continental Cleaners on 10th Avenue rests in the shadow of the as-yet-unnamed stadium—more accurately, across the street from where neighboring businesses will have to make way for some of the designated 4,000 to 5,000 new Padres parking spaces in the area. Those businesses—a printing shop, a produce supply outfit, a production tools wholesaler and the like —already have received condemnation notices and offers from the city for relocation compensation.

“I think any day now I’ll get my notice,” says the 40-year-old San Diego native. “I barely sleep at night.”

Continental makes most of its money from cleaning uniforms of San Diego Convention Center, theater and trolley employees, in addition to those of police officers, including Chief David Bejarano. Phelps fears relocating would land him outside the radius of this target-rich environment. And he knows that his business, a squat homage to prison architecture, complete with primer-gray bars on the windows, makes for a tempting deconstruction target.

The ballpark and 26 surrounding blocks, after all, represent the largest downtown redevelopment project in city history. And while civic leaders and Padres officials talk about a blend of residential and commercial uses for a revitalized East Village—a $1 billion urban nirvana the likes of which San Diego has never seen —Phelps can’t shake the impression that movers and shakers in town think upscale boutiques, bars, restaurants and residential units make more sense on this prime real estate than his blue-collar enterprise.

Padres owner John Moores, despite ongoing legal woes related to accounting irregularities at his Peregrine Software company, is building the Omni Hotel, a tony 512-bedroom complex, complete with 37 $1 million condos on the upper floors, that should be ready by baseball’s opening day in April 2004. The other major development under construction is Douglas Wilson Company’s nearby 120-unit Park Loft project, where 900-square-foot lofts will start at nearly $400,000.

Phelps believes escalating land values will squeeze out low-rent operations such as his. But, he adds, if he can just hang on until development is far enough down the road, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to stay put. If that day comes, the bars will come off the windows and he’ll plop down the 30 grand for aesthetic improvements.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

2015 Best Restaurants in San Diego

Brunch, burritos, brewpubs, and more! It's our annual, reader-voted list of the best food and drink in town

"No one is coming to rescue us"

What will it take to make over Southeast San Diego? Barry Pollard has hope that a forgotten corner of the city can turn around

Foodie Getaways

Traveling is one big excuse to dine out, and on the West Coast, the mix of new and classic eateries is reason enough to hit the road
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote now: Best Restaurants 2015
    From best chefs to top tacos, you choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 63 categories
  2. San Diego's Top 50 Trails
    From hiking the foothills to biking the beach, this is a city made for exploring outdoors. Here’s our latest, greatest checklist of trails we love—some in your own backyard
  3. I Tried It: The New Jazzercise
    When I hear the word “Jazzercise,” neon leotards, leg warmers, headbands, and old ladies come to mind
  4. Best Neighborhoods in San Diego
    Our annual neighborhood guide explores where to settle if you're a foodie, outdoors-lover, just starting out, or urban-obsessed
  5. The Best of North County 2015
    Our annual homage to the newest restaurants, shops, and activities keeping the region above I-56 the cool place it is—haute strip malls, million-dollar tract homes, and all!
  6. Win a 5-night Hawaiian vacation
    Win a 5-night stay for two at Halekulani
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

La Jolla Music Society Events

The La Jolla Music Society's 2015 Calendar
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Win a 5-night Hawaiian vacation

Win a 5-night stay for two at Halekulani

Everything is Just Two Wheels Away

Get ready to GO by BIKE!
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags