Group Aims To Reinvent City Redevelopment

Civic San Diego Formerly Known As Centre City Development Corporation

The reincarnation of the group formerly known as the Centre City Development Corporation – or CCDC – voted Wednesday to do something it has never done before as it deals with a harsh new reality.

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"Redevelopment funding is dead," said Kim Kilkenny, the chairman of the newly-named Civic San Diego, which was formerly the CCDC. "It's not going to come back."

Kilkenny said San Diego had grown used to spending redevelopment funds for nearly 40 years.

"We're going to have to work very closely with future developers, the city and other funding sources," he said.

Before the state cut off redevelopment money, forcing the CCDC to dissolve and reinvent itself, that money injected life into downtown San Diego with Horton Plaza, Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter. About $1.5 billion was spent in all to make downtown strong and self-sustaining.

Moving forward, the redevelopment areas outside of downtown such as Barrio Logan face the biggest challenge.

"In neighborhoods outside of downtown San Diego, we had a lot left to do," said Kilkenny.

That is despite about $500 million spent in outside neighborhoods.

Civic San Diego is now turning to new sources. The board voted Wednesday to apply for $65 million in federal tax credits.

"It's our first effort to try to go out to rejuvenate neighborhoods now that redevelopment is dead," said Kilkenny. Fire stations, parks and affordable housing were hit especially hard.

Redevelopment money built about 3,500 units of affordable housing downtown and another 1,000 in surrounding neighborhoods.

Public-private partnerships are now more important than ever. A privately-funded high-rise apartment that is being planned for 16th Street may add affordable housing units in exchange for being allowed higher density.

"We'll be talking with Civic San Diego about ideas to actually do subsidized housing for a portion of it," said Doug Austin, the chairman and CEO of AVRP Studios.

Kilkenny said it is one of the strategies necessary to keep San Diego moving.

"Good things are going to happen," he said. "It's going to take a little bit longer."

Civic San Diego said it is still winding down about $4 billion in redevelopment projects entered into before funds were cut, but those have to be approved by the state.

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