Not long ago, I wrote a piece about one company’s struggle to move into an East Village location and used it to talk about the bigger issue of space for tech companies downtown.

I talked about the IDEA District and Maker’s Quarter in that piece, but I didn’t explain them very well. So we took this week’s San Diego Explained to lay it all out a little clearer.

Here’s the video:

The IDEA District is basically just that: an idea.  It’s what organizers are calling  “a planning framework” for a large area in East Village bordered to the north by City College.

It’s this whole area.

This isn’t a broad master-planned effort. There are various owners of the land. But basically a bunch of stakeholders have decided that’s what they’re calling it.

Then there’s this guy, Jerry Navarra.

Photo courtesy SD Metro
Photo courtesy of SD Metro

You know him as the guy from Jerome’s Furniture. His family owns a big part of the land. We talked about this in the previous post but I wanted to make it clearer. They decided to work with a developer and urban planners to develop just one five-block area of the IDEA District known as the Maker’s Quarter.

Here’s a good visual of the area and their dream for it.

At the heart of Maker’s Quarter is SILO, where we had this Meeting of the Minds event several months ago.

Photo by Sam Hodgson
Photo by Sam Hodgson

It’s a pretty great public space. La Jolla Playhouse is actually doing a show there, “El Henry,” June 14-29.

“There’s been such a transformation of the feeling of the potential of this area,” said Stacey Pennington, the lead urban planner for the Maker’s Quarter project. She’s also founder of SLP Urban Planning.

But again, Maker’s Quarter just one part of this idea known as the IDEA District.

In my previous post I talked to David Malmuth. He’s developing a different building apart from Maker’s Quarter called IDEA 1. That’s a building currently owned by the Community College District. He got a 99-year lease to do something with it. And he got his first tenant, recently: Miller-Hull, the architects designing the project have committed to move in.

But they still need more tenants, several more if they want to get the financing to start construction.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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