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Expanding the success of Market Creek Plaza to the rest of the Diamond Neighborhoods

Posted at 11:29 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 19:19:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The first ever redevelopment project in the U.S. that is designed, built, and partially owned by neighborhood residents sits in the heart of San Diego’s Chollas View.

The San Diego Market Creek Plaza, on 310 Euclid Ave., is a commercial and cultural center that was envisioned in the 1990s and was born in 2004.

On Tuesday, panelists from across San Diego discussed how they could expand the plaza's success to the rest of the community. The discussion was part of the Urban Land Institute's Spring meeting.

The Market Creek Plaza has a unique history. It is home to the first major grocery store in over 30 years to the area, Food 4 Less. It also has some of the neighborhoods first sit-down restaurants, many of which are family owned.

Some who live in the Diamond Neighborhoods area of Chollas View have a stake and a say in what gets placed in this plaza. Back in 2015, the Jacobs Center sold shares of the plaza to the community, which some residents bought at a very low cost and have maintained throughout the years.

But Tuesday's panelist discussion was focused on how to expand the success of the plaza for both businesses and residents, to the rest of the neighborhood.

Market Creek has been a staple for over a decade. Over 2,000 residents were involved in the planning and designing or the shops, amphitheater and art that have been at the plaza since 2004.

“The plaza is hugely successful," said Michele Vives, the president of Douglas Wilson Companies. "It’s 97% leased up, it’s anchored by a grocery store, has many amenities for community members, and again, it’s owned by the community.”

A panel of community members discussed how to further the plaza's economic success into the Jacobs Centers’ “Master Town Center Plan,” which was created in 2015 and is now complete.

“This area has historically has typically been a retail desert," explained Vives. "Where there’s not a lot of local retailers that are coming into the environment."

She added, "And so now it culminates to a point that we really should discuss the entire vision.”

That vision, in part, includes sites like the Live Well Center, which will bring in more than 300 high paying jobs once completed. There are also growing nonprofits like the Access Youth Academy, which looks to transform the lives of underserved youth through the game of squash.

But most importantly, Vives shared, is the potential for big corporations like Target or Costco to consider moving into the neighborhood.

“Those brands offer better food choices, better medical choices, all the things you need in a community to make it a healthy space," Vives said.

The Jacobs Center, along with the community they serve, hope that by continuing to invest in their own backyard they are providing more opportunities for the future.