Monday, December 10, 2007

Wiz Kids Parent Club's Ballpark Boom

The Neighborhood That the Ballpark Built
Link (NYT)

Photo by Jack Smith

"A building that once held a Depression-era produce market is sprouting two new stories of office space, one of the many renovation and construction projects in the area immediately surrounding three-year-old Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball team.

An amalgam of an old red-brick building and new metal-and-glass construction, the TR Produce building — a development of a local firm, Cruzan Monroe — seems a fitting symbol of a rapidly developing urban area known as the Ballpark District, which combines new uses for older buildings with new construction.

The district is a 26-block area carved out of the East Village, a former harbor and manufacturing area.

San Diego is one of a number of cities, including Baltimore and Denver, that have used the construction of new baseball parks to spark the redevelopment of downtown areas. But it is probably the only one in which the stadium developer is also the prime mover in the redevelopment of the entire district surrounding the ballpark, said John C. Kratzer, president and chief executive of JMI Realty of San Diego, the company that is handling both of those tasks. The owner of the Padres, John Moores, is the chairman of JMI Realty."
"Mr. Kratzer said he was surprised by the strength of the interest that developers had in the East Village once momentum shifted.

"If we had told the city in 1998 that our development activity would become the catalyst for another $100 million in development, they would have said that was unbelievable beyond all expectation," he said.

The actual results have eclipsed that amount. So far, the ballpark area has attracted $1.4 billion of new investment, according to Mr. Kratzer."

"Even though there are fewer than a dozen industrial buildings surviving in the East Village, JMI made an effort to integrate historic architecture into the ballpark. Borrowing a page from Camden Yards in Baltimore, where the facade of an old warehouse is visible from the grandstands, the developer of Petco Park used a wall of the Western Metal Supply Company building as part of the left field wall.

Completed in 1934, the TR Produce building is one of about a dozen surviving structures from around 1870 to the early 1930's in the East Village. The old produce building and the new commercial condominium complex within its walls are a novel combination of historic preservation and new construction."
"While condominium ownership of office space is a rarity in San Diego (only one other downtown building offers similar units), the developer and at least one buyer say the expected growth of office rents in downtown San Diego justifies the cost of the condos.

The units range in price from $300,000 to about $1 million, and vary in size from 700 to 1,300 square feet. Twenty-two out of 28 loft-style office condominiums in the expansion to the old produce building have received commitments from buyers, said Dennis Cruzan, a principal and co-founder of Cruzan Monroe, who added that he hoped to sell the ground floor, which is part of the old brick structure, to a restaurant or deli."