About Little Italy
Originally populated by Italian tuna fisherman in the early 20th century, Little Italy is now one of Downtown San Diego’s most lively and desirable neighborhoods, with restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and several community events, including festivals and a popular farmer’s market, Little Italy Mercato.
The neighborhood is bordered to the north by San Diego International Airport, to the south by Downtown, to the west by Harbor View, and to the east by Banker’s Hill, Cortez Hill and Interstate 5.
Little Italy Real Estate
The neighborhood is host to many historic single family detached homes, as well as several newer condominium communities, including low-rises, mid-rises and lofts.
Much of the appeal of Little Italy is its vibrant activity and close proximity to the nightlife of Downtown, yet the neighborhood is renowned for being one of the safest and cleanest sections in the Downtown area.
Downtown: Strong Retail Numbers a Good Sign
The retail real estate market in Downtown San Diego had a good year. Brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield reported vacancy rates were in the single digits for the first time since 2008. The current retail vacancy rate is 8.6 percent, down from 10.7 percent in December 2011. Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter fared the best at 5 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. East Village led the pack in the other direction, posting a vacancy rate of 12.5 percent.
In addition, the total positive net absorption was 109,460 sq. ft., nearly twice 2011′s 57,959 tally. Positive net absorple Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter fared the best at 5 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. East Village led the pack in the other direction, posting a vacancy rate of 12.5 percent.
“While there is still residual economic uncertainty and tenant fallout from the last five years, we are definitely seeing a renewed confidence in the downtown San Diego market,” said Bill Shrader, senior director and founder of the Cushman & Wakefield.
Increased retail rates can only be good news for the downtown residential real estate market. For the most part, Downtown has remained fairly steady throughout the past few years, though the depressed housing market led to many developers converting homes for sale into rental units. Still, as Downtown continues to recover from a retail standpoint, buyer enthusiasm should increase as well.
Downtown: Horton Park Construction Coming Soon
The first step towards the expansion of the historic Horton Plaza park will begin later this week when construction crews begin razing the vacant department store. The old Robinson’s-May store was more recently occupied by music store Sam Goody.
In place of the building will be 1.3 acres of new public space, which will join the existing park. The new Horton Plaza park will extend from Broadway to the rejuvenated Balboa Theater. Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2014.
The park was originally set aside for the public in 1870. It was restored when Horton Plaza mall opened in 1985. The fountain, which was designed by architect Irving J. Gill in 1910, has been out of operation for the past four years. It will be repaired as part of the new construction work.
The park is expected to cost the city around $15 million, and is part of a $35.1 million agreement with mall owners Westfield to sell the department store back to the city as in exchange for dropping a profit-sharing agreement.
The new public space may be a kickstarter for more green space in Downtown San Diego. Such projects improve quality of living for downtown residents and help to increase property values.