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The downtown core of San Diego has shown itself to be one of the great redevelopment stories of any major city center internationally. This transformation has uncovered a “jewel” in a sensational harbor setting that has generated national recognition as a preferred destination for both business and leisure. In addition, the residential market in the downtown core is increasingly becoming of interest to ‘out of town’ buyers who are looking for a second home location and a lifestyle to match.

Such transitions though are not simply location driven. There is a lot of competition for such markets and success in capturing these come from vision, creative planning and public investment. Private investment will only be deployed if a local government and its agencies are willing to back their vision and invest in both hard and soft infrastructure.

This formula has been successfully executed in San Diego and both the city and the county are enjoying the benefits of it. However, the story is not complete and there is significant potential to be enjoyed if the city, county and its agencies are prepared to continually invest beyond the tax increment dollars that are currently made available. People sometimes think hard infrastructure investment is needed, but to really take a community to another level, soft infrastructure such as health, schools, affordable housing, arts and culture become important. This sometimes requires wider funding then what is readily available. This is something that should be considered and the benefits of such investment thoroughly investigated.

— GREG HENDERSON

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