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Stories by David Batterson

Downtown bathroom project plans approved

East Village to get two “Portland Loos”

The San Diego City Council on February 4 unanimously approved plans and specifications for two downtown restrooms (Portland Loos) to be placed in the East Village. They will be installed at the northwest corner of ...

Hillcrest’s Uptown shopping center due for “re-do”

Makeover prompted by business closures?

The Uptown District Shopping Center at 1030 University Avenue in Hillcrest, built in the early ’90s, is a busy location. But vacancies have been popping up in the 148,638-square-foot urban center, anchored by Ralphs. The ...

New life breathed into “Atmosphere” project

Future low-income apartments set for Cortez neighborhood

The dead-in-the-dirt “Atmosphere” downtown condo project, which crashed in 2004, is getting a new lease on life. Now it will definitely become a low-income apartment complex, through efforts by Centre City Development Corp. (now Civic ...

Group fights for University Heights boundary rights

Is the dividing line west of Texas Street?

While it may not matter to those who don't live there, one group is fighting another over the boundaries of University Heights. The University Heights Community Development Corporation (UHCDC) is battling with the University Heights ...

Burger King on El Cajon Boulevard exits North Park

“Yay! Bring on healthier, more community oriented businesses!”

You won't “have it your way” anymore from Burger King at 2829 El Cajon Boulevard. It's closed down. The building and parking lot are now surrounded by a chain-link fence. A request by the Reader ...

Hillcrest car-repair shop closure signals gentrification

Park Boulevard business “has indeed been an eyesore”

Town's Auto Repair at 3752 Park Boulevard in Hillcrest has repaired its last engine, carburetor, and transmission. The business was directly across from the DECA luxury condo development, on the northwest corner of Park Boulevard ...

North Park's F Street adult store property up for grabs

Available for $1.8 million

The F Street Adult Video & Gifts property at 2004 University Avenue in North Park is up for sale. It's located just west of Pecs Bar, at 2046 University Avenue. The North Park property is ...

Developer presents design concept for AT&T building

Finally, a plan for unsightly North Park property

The long-empty ATT/PacBell structure at the northeast corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue in North Park has been a magnet for homeless people and taggers ever since it became empty. The nonprofit Community HousingWorks ...

Cops naysay downtown opening of Phantom Lounge

“Highest crime area in the city”

Phantom Lounge and Nightclub may open soon downtown at 1014 Fifth Avenue (just north of Broadway). This will be the third Phantom Lounge location in San Diego County. Unlike the two existing businesses, this one ...

Blockbuster Video goes bust in North Park

Parent company has closed over 1000 stores

North Park's Blockbuster Video, at 2011 El Cajon Boulevard, is closing down forever. Signs at the North Park store indicate the entire inventory is being liquidated. Parent company Blockbuster LLC was acquired by Dish Network ...

Mitt Romney's La Jolla mansion not a done deal

Architect appeals to California Coastal Commission to stop project

An appeal before the California Coastal Commission meeting on September 11 in Eureka against the planned larger home by Mitt and Ann Romney has been postponed. Architect and longtime La Jolla resident Anthony A. Ciani ...

El Cajon Boulevard Coco's to become a 7-Eleven

Local business improvement association is not pleased

The former Coco's Bakery Restaurant location at 2644 El Cajon Boulevard will become a 7-Eleven store. According to Margaret Chabris, director of corporate communications with 7-Eleven, Inc., in Dallas, they will construct a new 3010-square-foot ...

North Park coffee roaster gets San Diego's first parklet

Caffe Calabria pays for revamping of parking spaces

The city's first parklet was officially dedicated August 23, at 3933 30th Street in North Park. It's in front of Caffé Calabria, which paid for construction and will do all the maintenance. The parklet was ...

Goodwill hunting for donations at new Hillcrest store

Formidable competition in this area of town

Goodwill Industries of San Diego has leased space previously occupied by Legends Home Furnishings, at 1219 University Avenue. While not open for business, the store is accepting donations at the back door from 8:30 a.m. ...

Will sale of lots in North Park relieve transient problem?

Former hair salon site occupied by homeless campers

The long-empty lot on the southeast corner of University Avenue and Louisiana Street is for sale again. The .21-acre property comprises two separate legal parcels, located at 2305 and 2307 University Avenue. Asking price is ...

Cheap art in L.A.

Museum tour via Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.

An old friend and his fiancee were flying into Los Angeles from Texas in July, on their way up to Santa Barbara. They were staying one night in L.A., and asked me to join them ...

BofA requests larger signage for downtown headquarters

You know what acquitted sidewalk chalker Jeff Olson thinks?

Bank of America is seeking larger building signage for its 20-story regional headquarters downtown at 450 B Street. Civic San Diego received a request from BBL, Inc., to install two signs larger than the current ...

Former San Diego Hardware Co. becomes saloon

“Babes” and “bastards” may get live entertainment

The historic San Diego Hardware Company building in the Gaslamp Quarter is almost done with its transformation into a new bar/restaurant called Lucky Bastard Saloon. According to sandiego.eater.com, the majority owner of Lucky Bastard Saloon ...

DJ/engineer buys run-down North Park building

Yeah, it’s got high, open-beam ceilings

Nestled between URBN Coal Fired Pizza and the empty old F.W. Woolworth building in North Park sits a building that last housed the Windmill Thrift Shop. After it closed, the structure, owned by a Los ...

Downtown San Diego affordable housing project advances

Adjacent lots purchased, site enlarged

The on-again, off-again affordable Atmosphere apartment project in downtown San Diego is on again, but hurry up and wait if you want to qualify for an apartment there. The San Diego City Council approved the ...

Protest of Bradley Manning imprisonment in Hillcrest

“The guilty people are George Bush's administration”

About 70 loud, enthusiastic, chanting individuals, many blowing whistles, took over the four corners of Sixth and University avenues in Hillcrest on June 1. Mostly from the LGBT community and Occupy movement, they called on ...

March Against Monsanto in Balboa Park...and 45 countries

Organizers say government in league with corporation

An enthusiastic crowd estimated at over 1000 gathered at the fountain in Balboa Park on May 25 as part of the international “March Against Monsanto.” The event took place simultaneously in 45 countries and 400 ...

North Park/University Heights residents host “Cookies with the Cops”

Area sees 17 percent drop in crime

A group of North Park/University Heights residents gathered at the intersection of Texas and Polk streets on May 15 at 6 p.m. for an informal meeting with three San Diego Police Department officers. The “Cookies ...

New Walgreens store rises on University Ave. in Hillcrest

Community leaders hope for a good neighbor

The long-planned, controversial Walgreens store in Hillcrest is well under construction at 301 University Avenue. The former vacant structure, last used for medical offices, was on the site located directly across University from Urban Mo's ...

Ocean Beach gets $20,000 more for lifeguard memorial

Sculptor was raised in OB, mentored by lifeguards

The San Diego City Council on April 16 unanimously approved funding “not to exceed $20,000” to help pay for a bronze lifeguard statue with a concrete foundation and an adjacent three-foot-square bronze plaque. The two ...

Coco's Restaurant in North Park is kaput

Wasn't kayoed by nearby “retro” restaurant

Closed down for a couple of months now, the empty Coco's Bakery Restaurant at 2644 El Cajon Boulevard in North Park is still hoping for a new leaseholder. The Coco's in Corona del Mar, California ...

AT&T building still a “public nuisance” in North Park?

Homeless sleep on premises amid graffiti, trash, and urine

The unused AT&T (formerly Pacific Bell) building in North Park continues to have homeless transients, graffiti, the smell of urine, and trash. The fortress-like structure — a perfect canvas for taggers — is located at ...

William Heath Davis House reimbursed by city council

$9000 scared up for “ghostly” Gaslamp museum

The Gaslamp Museum/William Heath Davis House downtown has been refurbished. The San Diego City Council on February 26 approved $9000 to reimburse the museum for some overdue improvements. The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation manages the ...

North Park’s Bodhi Animal Clinic gets new vets

Practice sold after $3M renovation

The Bodhi Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital at 2200 University Avenue in North Park has changed hands. The new owner is Tracy Dowdy, CVPM (certified veterinary practice manager). The purchase price was not disclosed. After ...

San Diego City Council finds funds to trim palm trees

Over $250,000 appropriated

The City of San Diego has a problem with falling palm fronds and has fallen way behind with palm-tree trimming. So, on January 29, the San Diego City Council unanimously (with two absent) approved the ...

North Park Main Street update

Office remodel, financial snapshot

It appeared North Park Main Street, a business improvement district established by the City of San Diego, might be moving. Last month on two walkabouts it was dark inside, boxes and pictures were strewn about, ...

Caltrans to chip in for Cabrillo Bridge seismic retrofit

A project apart from controversial detour extension

The San Diego City Council on January 8 unanimously approved a cooperative agreement between the City and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to seismically retrofit and rehabilitate the Laurel Street (Cabrillo) Bridge. Under the ...

Horton Plaza Project Approved, but Planned Art Unfunded

The San Diego City Council on November 13 unanimously approved authorization to “advertise, bid, award, and construct” the multimillion-dollar Horton Plaza Improvement Project. The council acted in its role as the successor agency to the ...

New Agency Head Touts Centre City Development Corp.

The San Diego City Council on October 23 unanimously approved the mayor's appointment of Jeff Graham as Civic San Diego's new president. Graham had been vice president of redevelopment at the disbanded Centre City Development ...

Hillcrest’s Pernicano's and Casa di Baffi Restaurants... "Abandoned"?

The San Diego City Council passed an “abatement of abandoned properties” ordinance unanimously on October 2. It makes abandoned properties (structures and empty lots) subject to the same city code sections regulating vacant properties. Vacant ...

No Glowing Review on Hotel Sandford’s Renovation

The renovation of the Hotel Sandford at 1301 Fifth Avenue is complete. (click here to see article from 2010). I dropped by unannounced on September 22 to take a look. While the hotel interior looks ...

A Minute with Todd Gloria in North Park

District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria walked up 30th Street in North Park on September 15, with some constituents tagging along, to test a new Android app called “BestWALK” from WalkSanDiego. The free app (downloadable here) ...

San Diego City Attorney Passes on Fireworks Litigation

The September 13 special session of the San Diego City Council included several routine “consent items” on the adoption agenda, including one involving a legal matter. Item-604 concerned “authority to enter into contract for legal ...

San Diego Council Moves to Protect, Expand Military Assets

At its first meeting in weeks, the San Diego City Council on September 13 unanimously approved a resolution to raise awareness about the negative impact of automatic Defense Department budget reductions. The resolution encourages “a ...

Woolworth Building Renovation on Hold

When the city still had its Redevelopment Agency, the empty Woolworth building at 3067 University Avenue was acquired for $1,950,000. North Park Gateway and 31st Street LLC were chosen to develop the structure into a ...

North Park Eyesore to Become Irish Pub?

North Park has a few empty stores, including the long-vacant old Woolworth building at 3067 University Avenue. But a worse eyesore is at 3020 University Avenue, next to the cigarette store at 3018 University. The ...

North Park ElderHelp Facility to Get a Makeover

With financial assistance from block grants and fundraising , Elderhelp of San Diego will be getting an extreme makeover of their facility. The 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation received a new five-year lease from the ...

Graffiti in North Park by Invisible Children Supporters?

Invisible Children, Inc., is the San Diego nonprofit company that created a video on Joseph Kony's rebel war in Central Africa. The video has reportedly garnered over 100 million views, but the organization may have ...

Metropolitan Transit System Chief Declines Benefits Increase

The board of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System avoided a controversial public vote April 19 on a $20,000 benefits increase for CEO Paul Jablonski. At the board meeting, copies of a letter from Jablonski ...

Fate of Two America Plaza Site Up to City's Redevelopment Oversight Board

Just north of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego at America Plaza is an abandoned construction site that was originally going to be a high-rise office building called Two America Plaza; then the site ...

San Diego City Council Grants $51,000 for Needle Exchange Program

The San Diego City Council on April 10 approved (on their consent agenda) $51,000 for Family Health Centers of San Diego, to be used for their Safe Point San Diego program. Funds will be allocated ...

North Park Volunteer Patrol Will Target Rowdiness Outside Bars

At a March 13 meeting at the Lafayette Hotel, the North Park Community Association sponsored a meeting at which the Stonewall Citizens' Patrol presented their plans to expand into the North Park area. The volunteer ...

City’s New Vending Machine Deal Includes “Healthy Food”

More snacks are coming to city office buildings, libraries, police and fire stations, park and recreation facilities, and some beach areas. On February 28, the San Diego City Council by unanimous consent approved a vending-machine ...

Downtown Affordable Housing Project Likely to Languish for Lack of Funds

“The Atmosphere” low-income apartment complex planned for the long-abandoned Cortez “hole” site may not be built. The nonprofit Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation is the developer. Wakeland previously purchased the dirt-filled site, then resold it ...

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