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

“The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public," according to Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the MCASD.
“The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public," according to Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the MCASD.

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 was considered for the new downtown library and also for a hotel.

According to Jeff Graham, Centre City Development Corporation redevelopment vice president, the development agency had acquired “air rights” to the parcel, but those are now held by the redevelopment successor agency. (Freedictionary.com defines "air rights" as "The right to build on, occupy, and/or profit from the air above a piece of real estate.") The underground parking garage at the site belongs to the Irvine Company, also owners of the One America Plaza office tower.

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CCDC received new interest in late 2011 from three hotel developers, but the statewide elimination of redevelopment agencies changed the outcome.

“Now the [successor agency's] Oversight Board will determine the future fate of the site,” says Graham. “They could turn the site over to the city so that a proper developer can be selected. Or they may just auction it for sale, along with several other former agency properties.”

Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the museum, says, “The future of Two America Plaza is of great interest to MCASD, and we believe we should be a key participant in discussions concerning the future of the property. We still view a hotel as a favorable outcome for the property.”

The site might seem a useful temporary addition to the museum's outdoor event space. However, Handelsman says, “The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public.” The museum does use the north plaza next to the museum for events.

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“The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public," according to Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the MCASD.
“The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public," according to Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the MCASD.

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 was considered for the new downtown library and also for a hotel.

According to Jeff Graham, Centre City Development Corporation redevelopment vice president, the development agency had acquired “air rights” to the parcel, but those are now held by the redevelopment successor agency. (Freedictionary.com defines "air rights" as "The right to build on, occupy, and/or profit from the air above a piece of real estate.") The underground parking garage at the site belongs to the Irvine Company, also owners of the One America Plaza office tower.

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CCDC received new interest in late 2011 from three hotel developers, but the statewide elimination of redevelopment agencies changed the outcome.

“Now the [successor agency's] Oversight Board will determine the future fate of the site,” says Graham. “They could turn the site over to the city so that a proper developer can be selected. Or they may just auction it for sale, along with several other former agency properties.”

Rebecca Handelsman, senior communications and marketing manager for the museum, says, “The future of Two America Plaza is of great interest to MCASD, and we believe we should be a key participant in discussions concerning the future of the property. We still view a hotel as a favorable outcome for the property.”

The site might seem a useful temporary addition to the museum's outdoor event space. However, Handelsman says, “The slab as currently configured is not adequately accessible or safe for use by the public.” The museum does use the north plaza next to the museum for events.

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