City Leaders Break Ground on World-Class Urban Plaza in Downtown San Diego
Project Will Restore Regional Treasure and Create New Central Gathering Area
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 29, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mayor Jerry Sanders, Council
President Pro Tem Kevin L. Faulconer, Mayor-Elect Bob Filner, former Governor
Pete Wilson and Westfield executives today joined hundreds of guests to break
ground on a world-class urban plaza adjacent to the historic Horton Plaza Park
in downtown San Diego. This project is the result of a unique public-private
partnership between the City of San Diego, Civic San Diego and Westfield that
will create a new central gathering space and restore the existing park and
fountain, which have fallen into disrepair.
"Today we embark on a project that will create an iconic multi-use space for
visitors and residents from throughout San Diego County," said San Diego City
Council President Pro Tem Kevin L. Faulconer, who represents the downtown
community. "It has been apparent for quite some time that Horton Plaza Park
needed a makeover. The square must be restored to meet the needs of downtown's
growing population and reclaim its historic role as a regional destination for
San Diegans and future generations. Along with other new attractions such as
the waterfront park, the urban plaza will be a beloved downtown amenity for
years to come."
During the groundbreaking ceremony, speakers celebrated the past, present and
future of both Horton Plaza Park, which once served as a place where people
gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July and hear presidents speak, and the
Horton Plaza shopping center, which sparked the original redevelopment of
downtown in the early 1980s.
This dynamic history was acknowledged at the groundbreaking through the
unveiling of a plaque to honor former San Diego Mayor and California Governor
Pete Wilson and others who played a significant role not only in the new urban
plaza, but also in the original development and revitalization of downtown.
Known as "Horton's Heroes," honorees included Mayor Jerry Sanders; the San
Diego City Council; downtown San Diego founder Alonzo Horton; fountain
designer Irving Gill; Hahn Company representatives Ernest Hahn and John
Gilchrist, who helped develop the Horton Plaza shopping center; Centre City
Development Corporation (CCDC) representatives Frank Alessi, Pamela Hamilton
and Gerald Trimble; former San Diego City Councilmember Leon Williams; and
Westfield, owner of the Horton Plaza shopping center.
In addition, downtown stakeholders were on-hand to dedicate a time capsule
representing the community's culture in 2012, as well as Horton Plaza's long
history. Several items were placed in the vessel, which will be buried at the
new urban plaza and unearthed by future generations of San Diegans in 50
"The construction of this world-class facility represents the next phase of a
long tradition that has made downtown San Diego the vibrant destination it is
today," said Mayor Jerry Sanders. "The project will provide an economic boost
to the surrounding area, continue the redevelopment that began four decades
ago and ensure that Horton Plaza Park remains an exciting part of San Diego's
The San Diego City Council unanimously voted in favor of the new urban plaza
in January 2011. As part of the approved plan, Westfield agreed to demolish
the former Robinsons-May/Planet Hollywood building at the Horton Plaza
shopping center, transfer ownership of that land to the City, and maintain and
actively program the park for 25 years. The project will also restore and
beautify the existing park and fountain adjacent to the property.
"Westfield is proud to partner with the City on a project that will honor the
storied history of the Horton Plaza area as a catalyst for economic growth and
success in downtown," said Jerry Engen, Senior Vice President of Development
for The Westfield Group in San Diego. "We are committed to helping create,
maintain and activate a world-class urban plaza that will provide residents
and visitors alike with the opportunity to enjoy more than 200 events each
year that will celebrate our diverse cultural, spiritual and community
Demolition of the former Robinsons-May/Planet Hollywood building began at the
groundbreaking ceremony and will continue over the next few months.
Construction of the new urban plaza, which was designed through a robust
public process, is expected to begin in April 2013, with project completion
scheduled for spring 2014.
About Westfield: The Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) is an Australian-based company
with interests in 105 shopping centers in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the
United Kingdom and the United States. In the U.S., Westfield has a portfolio
of 47 shopping centers that are home to more than 7,900 specialty stores and
comprise approximately 56 million square feet of leasable space in California,
Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North
Carolina, Ohio and Washington.
Contact: Chris Wahl
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