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U-T redevelopment is downsized – U

A downsized $60 million master plan for the U-T San Diego property will be reviewed by the Mission Valley Planning Group on Wednesday that calls for 200 apartments but no new offices.

The newspaper office building and printing plant will remain in place but much of the surface parking lot will be replaced by a seven-story complex of luxury apartments that will overlook a new promenade and park along the San Diego River, just south of Fashion Valley.

“The commercial office market continues to be sluggish and there is not a demand for new Class A offices at this point in time,” said Perry Dealy, a planning group member and consulting development manager to Manchester Financial Group, headed by U-T Publisher “Papa” Doug Manchester.

The original plan for the 12.9-acre site on Camino de la Reina, estimated in 2012 at $200 million, called for a 22-story, 198-unit residential tower, 10-story, 234,415-square-foot office building, parking garage topped by a pool, fitness center and tennis courts, and 6,470 square feet of retail space.

The new plan also includes a parking garage serving both the U-T building and residents between the printing plant and the apartments. The housing units will range from about 667 to 1,800 square feet. No rental rates have been set.

In compliance with the San Diego River master plan, approved by the city last year, the development will include a 0.8-acre public river walk promenade, bike path, sculpture park and space for gourmet food trucks. Some surface parking would remain but about 70 percent of the existing lot would disappear. In-lieu fees rather than affordable units would be paid to cover the city’s affordable housing requirements.

Dealy said an environmental impact report will be ready for city review in a few weeks with final action anticipated by the Planning Commission in the first quarter of 2015. Following 12 months of building permit review, construction would take about 18 months heading toward an opening in the first quarter of 2018.

Architect Doug Austin of AVRP Studios said the design will feature brick and stone to complement the U-T building that opened in 1973 after relocation from downtown.

Other features will include a tower that originally was intended for the new office building, a seven-story-high entry arch, grand staircase and a half-acre deck with a pool, spa, gardens, barbecue grills and meeting rooms. Internal amenities will include a gym, media room and board rooms.

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The north side of the apartment complex will include a public park and space of food trucks. — AVRP Studios

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The north side of the apartment complex will include a public park and space of food trucks.
/ AVRP Studios

No changes are proposed to Camino de la Reina to handle the extra traffic because of differing commuting patterns of residents and office workers, Austin said.

“There will be plenty of parking for guests on the weekends,” he said.

To ease newspaper/residential traffic conflicts and reduce noise. newspaper delivery truck bays will be relocated to the south side of the printing building, directly accessible from the current secondary entrance.

In terms of landscaping, designed by KTU+A, Austin said the property’s mature trees will remain but the grass will be eliminated at least along the present eastern entrance and drought tolerant plants will be used throughout.

Asked about the increased density in already traffic-challenged Mission Valley, Austin said the added residential use makes a lot of sense.

“This is the best place to put housing. You have the trolley, two major arterials with easy on- and off access,” Austin said. “You can walk to lot of places you’d normally drive to. The housing is needed — we’re 60,000-100,000 units short and that pressure is driving costs up for everybody.”

Article source: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/30/union-tribune-redevelopment-apartments/