Edit ModuleShow Tags

Who the Heck Lives Downtown?

Home to less than one percent of the county's population, the area has a lot of potential



Published:

Waterfront Park

Downtown is home to just 34,550 residents. That’s less than one percent of San Diego County’s population—but this tiny number has grown 97 percent since 2000. So the area clearly has potential.

“If you get critical mass, that changes everything,” says local architect Joseph Martinez. “Right now we only have 35,000 residents. That’s nothing. Imagine half a million people living downtown. Balboa Park would be used so much more, and more often. Our assets don’t get used.”

But they will. As for who will move here: In addition to baby boomers seeking to downsize and retire to a more walkable community, a 2014 survey by the American Planning Association found that more than half of millennials in the country planned to move within five years. Among those interested in packing up, San Diego was the third most popular city after New York and Los Angeles. Key word: “city.”

Surveys have shown that millennials want walkable urban neighborhoods with transit options. Suburbanization, which San Diego has been doing for fifty years, is out. The young and educated want to live downtown. Numbers show that, countywide, only Carmel Valley’s residents match the education level of those living downtown, a fact attributed to the employers in nearby Torrey Pines Mesa.

Carmel Valley and downtown also lead the county zip codes in a tie for the most new startups (32 each). Beyond that, downtown is ahead of the county in terms of salary, carbon footprint, and more. It just needs more bodies walking around looking for things to do, to create vitality, support businesses, and fill arts venues.

“Downtown is driven around Petco Park and the Convention Center. Look at what Petco Park did for putting bodies on the street. We’re no longer 9-to-5—there’s weekend life,” says Cyrus Sanandaji, managing director of Presidio Bay Ventures, a company that invests in downtown projects like Overture, an upcoming mixed-use tower. And he sees more change coming our way. “Downtown is not yet its own independent unit, but it will be. You will eat, sleep, and drink here in 20 years.”

 

Demographics

Downtown residents are more educated, better paid, and more male.

 

Happy birthday, Gaslamp!

San Diego’s historic downtown celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the Gaslamp Quarter Association is unveiling a public art project called Rabbitville, a nod to the area’s origins as a dusty plain where nothing but rabbits roamed. Look for 15 fiberglass rabbits painted by various local artists displayed around the Gaslamp’s 16.5 historic blocks. HBD, GQ!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The New Downtown:

Who the Heck Lives Downtown?

Home to less than one percent of the county's population, the area has a lot of potential

How Downtown San Diego Does Luxury

Younger, millennial-focused luxury is leading the way

Downtown Has an Unofficial Arts District

Here's how to explore it during one night in May

Why We (Will) Love Our Skyline

Local architect Joseph Martinez has helped define the San Diego skyline—but we have a long way to go

A Downtown San Diego Coffee Crawl

Here’s our guide to the best downtown coffee shops

A Downtown San Diego Food Tour

Here’s a rundown of where to eat and drink in style in downtown

Why Companies Are Moving to Downtown San Diego

Easy commutes, walkability, and food trucks—downtown is the new hot spot for companies

The IDEA District Is No Longer Just an Idea

The east village concept is debuting this September

FAQ: The Answers to 7 Burning Questions about Downtown

What’s the fate of Horton Plaza, and what’s happening with the homeless?

A Downtown San Diego Brewery Tour

Take the trolley for a full day of brew hopping—without any driving or parking worries
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

The New Downtown: A Guide to San Diego's Most Happening Neighborhood

We're delving into the new restaurants, cultural events, and businesses that are making downtown a destination

Downtown Has an Unofficial Arts District

Here's how to explore it during one night in May

Why We (Will) Love Our Skyline

Local architect Joseph Martinez has helped define the San Diego skyline—but we have a long way to go
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  3. San Diego Fourth of July Guide 2017
    Celebrate Independence Day all weekend long with fireworks, festivals, parades, drink specials, and more
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. The Oceanside Revolution
    The North County city has gone from an all-but annexed coastal town by Camp Pendelton to a thriving bed of culinary and artistic success.
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.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags