You’ve probably heard the urban myth about why Willie Sutton said he robbed banks: That’s where the money is.

The old cliché comes to mind when leaders from Civic San Diego make their case for bringing downtown’s expedited permitting process to other parts of the city.

But really, why do developers build projects downtown? That’s where the money is.

It’s also where Civic San Diego, the organization formed when the city’s former redevelopment agencies merged, is empowered to permit projects.

Now the group is trying to extend that authority to other San Diego neighborhoods. In addition to giving the group a long-term revenue stream, doing so would also make development in those areas more attractive.

When the City Council eventually grapples with Civic San Diego’s proposal, one question it’ll confront is whether developers have targeted downtown because that’s where the money is, or because that’s where they have greater certainty about when they’ll get final approval.

For now, here’s an explanation of how Civic San Diego is looking to put itself on firm long-term footing.

I’m Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0529 and follow me on Twitter:

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Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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