Hines starts building San Diego’s Riverwalk Development

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California Construction News staff writer

Construction on a 195-acre, mixed-use development in Mission Valley is underway with 930 apartments, 75,000 sq. ft. of retail shops and improvements to Friars Road expected to be completed by early 2025.

A groundbreaking was held last week – two years after council approved the project to replace the Riverwalk Golf Club. The cost has now topped $4 billion.

“Today marks the start of San Diego’s next great neighborhood,” said Pete Shearer director at real estate developer Hines. “We have an opportunity, with the size of this site, to create something that San Diego hasn’t seen yet, and that is a place open to the public, that is designed … for the pedestrian and is activated by retail on all sides. It’s the perfect project for a post-COVID world.”

Riverwalk San Diego will transform a park, restore a river habitat and create housing and retail spaces – all accessible by trolley.

Officials list the following community benefits:

  • Environment: restores river to natural habitat and fulfills the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan
  • Community: creates a walkable, live-work-play neighborhood
  • Economy: creates needed housing, local jobs, and local economic activity

At build-out in 15 years, the development will include 4,300 apartment units, 152,000 square feet of retail stores and a million square feet of office space. Construction will also create 97 acres of parks, open space and trails, bikeways and pedestrian walkways along the  River Pathway.

Hines will replace the golf course’s shuttered northern, nine-hole course with 930 market-rate units spread across five buildings, up to 85 feet tall, along Friars Road. The residential units will range from studios to townhomes up to 1,600 square feet in size.

“Riverwalk is truly a poster child for smart growth … and it will influence how we do business in other parts of our city,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Yes, it does warm my YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) heart to see what Hines is doing on this important piece of property.

“Bringing on this (amount) of housing at one location, and knowing that it’s part of other large projects that are coming together in our city at this time, gives people not just something to break ground on; this is really about giving people a sense of hope.”

The developer is working with affordable housing partner Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation to build 100 subsidized units in a separate building along Friars Road. Construction on the affordable units is anticipated to begin in the next two years, a spokesperson for the developer said.

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