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Red Door Interactive's move to Sherman Heights hopes to revitalize neighborhood

Opportunity Zone gives tax breaks to businesses
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Posted at 7:41 AM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 10:41:49-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A local marketing firm is moving from the East Village to Sherman Heights, and hoping the move can bring the same kind of renewal they saw in their old home to that neighborhood.

"I think it has a lot of potential," says Reid Carr, the CEO ofRed Door Interactive.

Carr started his company in the East Village in 2002, as Petco Park was being built. He's seen the neighborhood grow up over the past two decades, spurred by business investment.

"To people who come down here, it feels like it changed overnight," he says. "But to be in it, it ebbs and flows with people coming and going and really figuring itself out. It's pretty spectacular."

He thinks the same thing can happen in Sherman Heights, one of 35 "Opportunity Zones" in San Diego County.

"I think it needs this kind of commercial and business corridor to build it up," says Carr. "We're trying to be the first footprint there to do it."

Opportunity Zones are federally designated areas that give companies tax breaks on capital investment. The goal is to spread businesses across communities.

"It signals the areas in our county that are really ripe for investment," says Nikia Clarke, the Vice President of Economic Development for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

"Companies are looking at places like Sherman Heights as the next high growth parts of our region," she adds.

But Sherman Heights comes with a unique set of challenges. The neighborhood was founded in 1868 and is a historic district. That means companies need to comply with design and architecture rules, so they fit into the community.

Companies like Jack in the Box and Walmart opened locations in the neighborhood in the past few years, and found success within the restrictions.

"As a small neighborhood, it's important to us that businesses want to understand where they're coming into and want to work with the fabric of the neighborhood," says Sherman Heights Historian Louise Torio. "We want something designed today that fits into the rhythm of the streetscape."

Carr says his business is excited to become a part of the neighborhood and plans to honor the historic feel.

He bought the lot near 25th and Market for $3.2 million and plans another $6 million to renovate the existing buildings.

"We're going to embrace what's there, revitalize it in some ways and respect it in a lot of other ways," he says.

The company hopes to start construction this July and move in by April of 2021.