Proposal hopes to create housing by filling vacant storefronts

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Councilman David Alvarez says he's tired of driving by vacant storefronts in urban communities like East Village and Barrio Logan. 

He believes city rules requiring some high-rises to put retail space on ground floors are too rigid. 

Alvarez has put forth a proposal that would allow for more flexibility and creativity, giving buildings the option to put housing and live-work spaces on ground floors. 

"We need to think outside the box when it comes to housing. We have placed so many rules on the books it makes it hard to do things differently," said Alvarez. 

If passed by the council, Alvarez says the permits to convert spaces would be temporary. After a period of time, potentially 10 years, the owner would reevaluate whether a retail store could then succeed. If not, they could apply for another permit. 

East Village alone has seen multiple businesses shut its doors in recent months, including Smashburger, Bottega Americano, SOL CAL Cafe, The Market Hall and Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery. 

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