Horton Plaza Makeover Project Approved

Downtown Project Would Be Finished In 2013

A major project that promises to bring more people to downtown San Diego was approved on Wednesday.

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Portland-based company Walker Macy was selected to give Westfield Horton Plaza a major makeover -- one that does not include more retail stores, but does include a one-of-a-kind gathering place with unique lights and an outdoor theater.

"We've done this kind of work for 30 years, a number of major urban plazas, but this is probably the largest and most significant one we've done," said Douglas Macy of Walker Macy.

Macy's company has done similar jobs in cities such as Sacramento, Portland and Seattle.

"We asked ourselves, OK, where are we in this world, what are the kind of forms and shapes and colors and textures that make up this unique place," said Macy.

Macy said the look for the project was inspired by San Diego's Spanish colonial architecture, in particular arches like the one found at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

The new plaza will have open spaces, shady areas, an amphitheatre, a large movie screen and luminaria lights.

"Even at night, it's still the focal point; that's what the luminarias are about, iconic structures that will provide changing lights during the night in space, making it a really vibrant space," said Macy.

"It's programmed to have over 200 events throughout the year," said Mark Caro of the Centre City Development Corp.

Caro said the CCDC is teaming up with Westfield to create a gathering place for all of San Diego.

"We believe it's going to be a great asset, not only to downtown residents, but the region as a whole," said Caro.

The project is expected to cost $8 million.

Developers hope to have the project finished by New Year's Eve 2013.

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