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Woolworth Building Renovation on Hold

Plans and permits are ready, but renovations on the empty Woolworth building will be delayed.
Plans and permits are ready, but renovations on the empty Woolworth building will be delayed.

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 mixed-use project. The first floor will be commercial (a restaurant space and retail), and the second floor will have six apartments.

Alfred Kerendian, a realtor and owner of International Design & Management, said that while the project is “currently on hold, all plans and permits are ready to proceed.” Kerendian explained in a September 4 phone interview that they are waiting for “winding down of the redevelopment properties.” Kerendian is a partner in the project with Lyda Cohen and architect Bejan Arfaa.

With the legal and bureaucratic issues surrounding the closing of redevelopment agencies, the beginning of construction is at least “a year away,” Kerendian said. The city holds title to the property, but under their contract it will eventually be transferred to his development group. The city is legally responsible for such things as maintenance and graffiti removal, he added.

The partners will adhere to California Green Building Standards Code (similar to Silver LEED certification) and use photovoltaic panels on the roof. Also included are sidewalk improvements, street lights, street furniture, lighting and public art, and possible underground electrical. Kerendian said their original $2.4 million project estimate remains “about the same.” But they had requested $100,000 more for the street/sidewalk improvements.

The San Diego Historical Resources Board approved a March 2012 request to have the Woolworth Building, with its 1949 Streamline Moderne architecture, declared a historical resource. This designation grants a reduction in property taxes to the owner, under the Mills Act. An owner must preserve the site and meet the “Secretary of the Interior's Standards.”

To gain some perspective, Kerendian visited the former Woolworth building in Oxnard. Built in 1950, it is similar to the North Park Woolworth's. It now houses retail, commercial and restaurant space, and the Woolworth Museum.

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Plans and permits are ready, but renovations on the empty Woolworth building will be delayed.
Plans and permits are ready, but renovations on the empty Woolworth building will be delayed.

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 mixed-use project. The first floor will be commercial (a restaurant space and retail), and the second floor will have six apartments.

Alfred Kerendian, a realtor and owner of International Design & Management, said that while the project is “currently on hold, all plans and permits are ready to proceed.” Kerendian explained in a September 4 phone interview that they are waiting for “winding down of the redevelopment properties.” Kerendian is a partner in the project with Lyda Cohen and architect Bejan Arfaa.

With the legal and bureaucratic issues surrounding the closing of redevelopment agencies, the beginning of construction is at least “a year away,” Kerendian said. The city holds title to the property, but under their contract it will eventually be transferred to his development group. The city is legally responsible for such things as maintenance and graffiti removal, he added.

The partners will adhere to California Green Building Standards Code (similar to Silver LEED certification) and use photovoltaic panels on the roof. Also included are sidewalk improvements, street lights, street furniture, lighting and public art, and possible underground electrical. Kerendian said their original $2.4 million project estimate remains “about the same.” But they had requested $100,000 more for the street/sidewalk improvements.

The San Diego Historical Resources Board approved a March 2012 request to have the Woolworth Building, with its 1949 Streamline Moderne architecture, declared a historical resource. This designation grants a reduction in property taxes to the owner, under the Mills Act. An owner must preserve the site and meet the “Secretary of the Interior's Standards.”

To gain some perspective, Kerendian visited the former Woolworth building in Oxnard. Built in 1950, it is similar to the North Park Woolworth's. It now houses retail, commercial and restaurant space, and the Woolworth Museum.

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February 15, 2016 update: The building remains empty, and taggers have now ruined the colorful mural on the outside.

Feb. 16, 2016

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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