The IDEA District Is No Longer Just an Idea

The east village concept is debuting this September. Really. Conceived by David Malmuth and Pete Garcia six years ago, IDEA District stands for Innovation, Design, Education, and Arts. "Those are the pillars that we think are critical to building a vibrant, sustainable urban community," says Malmuth. He is a developer, but his idea is not entirely profit-driven.

"When we started the IDEA District, we didn’t have land," he says. "It turned out to be the biggest plus. Unburdened by having to worry about a single piece of property, we were able to ask the more interesting question: What can we all do together that would benefit and grow this whole district and neighborhood?" Put concretely, the district aims to create more than 13,000 design and tech jobs in the East Village over the next 12 years.

The first project, known as IDEA1, comprises live-work apartments, ground floor "creative" office space, retail and restaurants, and The Hub, a social space in a courtyard for artists and thinkers to "display their creative output. The Hub is sort of a stage for the community." Fashion designers, film artists, entrepreneurs, people with big social enterprises—all are welcome to mix and mingle and create. Also in the works: a park known as East Village Green, slated to begin construction by the end of this year. "That public improvement will have a massive impact on people’s perception of the livability of the East Village."

To clarify: The buzzed-about Makers Quarter is one-fourth of the IDEA District, with similar precepts. This year, L2HP & BNIM Architects will break ground on Block D, downtown San Diego’s first new office building in over a decade, which also aims to achieve LEED Platinum or Gold Certification. Progress!

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