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26 BIG Ideas

The city's leaders in health, science, politics, food, and culture share their game-changing ideas for San Diego in 2016.


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(page 8 of 26)

Let’s build a downtown for North County.

Gary Levitt, Developer, Urban Villages

The planners are calling it North City and likening it to a college town. South of Highway 78 and north of Cal State San Marcos lies space for a 204-acre mixed-use development, with a pedestrian bridge linking to the college. This city will have housing, retail, restaurants, offices, entertainment, and a hotel designed by architects Taal Safdie and Ricardo Rabines (the brains behind Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge and Scripps Seaside Forum). The Quad, a student housing building, has already opened and won a 2015 Orchid Award for Architecture. Next up? A mixed-use building with 197 market-rate units above retail and restaurant spaces that will open to an outdoor plaza. “Central to this concept is the need to achieve land use intensities that support smart growth and utilize available mass transit,” Levitt says. The community is highly walkable and also strings together two stations on the Sprinter light rail line. To put the size of North City’s 204 acres in perspective, Carmel Valley’s polarizing One Paseo is 23 acres—a mere shopping plaza by comparison. And the idea of having two downtowns is nothing new—L.A. has a downtown by USC and high-rises in Westwood near UCLA. Hey, if North City provides housing and improves our commute, our only question is: When can we move in?

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