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The IDEA1 project celebrated its grand opening Dec. 7. / Photo courtesy of SNAP

East Village is exploding with growth.

Dozens of projects are planned or under construction in the neighborhood just east of downtown, some of which are part of an area dubbed the IDEA District – envisioned as a home for innovation, design, education and the arts.

Conceived by David Malmuth and Pete Garcia six years ago, the IDEA District has long been just an idea. But this week, the developers celebrated the grand opening of IDEA1, their new development on the corner of F and 13th streets. It’s the first new mixed-use apartment project built in the IDEA District since the concept was dreamed up.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Andrew Keatts, Scott Lewis and Sara Libby talk to Garcia and Malmuth about their vision for the IDEA District, its growth so far and some of the challenges that stand in its way.

One big hurdle is the fact that the IDEA District isn’t an official city initiative. None of the principles in the plan are codified anywhere in city code, and there aren’t any subsidies or other city perks offered to developers who do build projects that fit the IDEA District concept. Malmuth and Garcia said it will be harder to successfully continue building out the IDEA District without the government tools that come with city-sanctioned programs, but it’s not impossible.

“It is what it is,” Garcia said. “You either whine and complain about the fact there there’s no subsidies and you don’t do anything, or you go out and do it with a lot of tenacity and hardheadedness.”

Also on the podcast, Libby, Lewis and Keatts discuss San Diego State University’s new plans for the stadium land in Mission Valley, they explain confusion over unsigned newspaper editorials and more.

Hero of the Week

Our hero this week is state Assemblywoman Marie Waldron. At a hearing this week, Waldron raised good questions about the California Legislature’s handling of sexual harassment cases.

Goat of the Week

San Diego Unified gets goatted yet again this week. The district has 100 special education aide vacancies, which has led some parents to keep their kids from school out of fear of what may happen to their child without the needed supervision aides provide.

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