Before my story on the City of Villages framework ran earlier this week, I didn’t get a chance to chat with the planners on the pilot village in southeast San Diego. But this afternoon, I heard from Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils, with an update on the project’s progress.
And a new, three-story office building is finishing construction, Crenshaw said. That building will house the Jacobs Family Foundation, the organization that has bankrolled much of the development on the pilot village so far. And in the basement of that building, there will be a training kitchen for job-seekers in the food preparation industry and a performance hall seating 800 people.
The next project in focus is a 36-unit housing development adjacent to the Euclid and Market trolley station. Additional phases in the project will redevelop the 45 acres at that intersection.
Crenshaw said the development of the pilot village in his neighborhood has turned almost completely away from a public-private partnership, becoming a private-sector-only endeavor dependent instead on the “financial wherewithal of the Jacobs Family Foundation.”
Without that private support and the support of other nonprofits, the project in Southeast would be in similar straits as some of the other villages, Crenshaw said. He echoed the sentiments of San Ysidro planner David Flores, saying the city has not provided the expedited permitting and rezoning services the pilot villages need in order to succeed as planned.
“I think [City of Villages] was obviously a great concept and worthy of emulation, but we are very much challenged in our project area, with our current zoning,” Crenshaw said, referring to the addition of residential units to the commercial area.
“We’re moving forward with the vision,” he said. “But it’s taking a little longer that a lot of us thought or a lot of us hoped.”