CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – There are big plans in the works to help a South Bay destination thrive with new additions starting this year.
Marco Li Mandri with New City America heads San Diego's Little Italy Association, and he took the lead for Chula Vista's Third Avenue last fall.
Li Mandri told ABC 10News, "What we're looking at is a series of events that will go on this year, and there will be new events."
He said his group also plans to go vertical, adding about 300 multi-unit housing in and around Third Avenue’s businesses by 2024.
"We want people to walk downstairs go to a bar, restaurant, or go grocery shopping,” Li Mandri said.
Businesses around the area, including Burdick's Sewing and Vacuum Center, thrived during the pandemic.
"When we first got the virus, we were very busy, people buying fabric and getting their machines fixed because they were making the masks,” owner Joan Burdick said.
According to Burdick, families spanning generations have continued to be loyal customers, and the owner of the space she leases from has never raised the rent.
Some other businesses haven't been so lucky, including Brew Bar, a vegan restaurant and café.
"When I think about my finances through the last two years with the pandemic, it sort of feels like the game Tetris," said owner Alex McDaniel.
McDaniel said business slowed down amid the pandemic, then the company they rent their space from decided to sell in December. He and the staff held a fundraiser event last month to raise money to help purchase the property.
"The more that the community becomes aware of our concept, the more they're willing to support the business,” said McDaniel.
Li Mandri thinks the Third Avenue Village's businesses and the community will benefit from their plans.
He and his team will also have a hospitality task force on standby to help owners with things like long-term outdoor dining permits and marketing strategies.