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More from my interview with Graham Downes

November 19, 2009 - 1:12 pm

One of Downes' projects: Basic Urban Kitchen in East Village

Because of the space limitations of print, I was able to devote only 550-or-so words to my piece in this week’s CityBeat about architect/developer Graham Downes‘ thoughts about a Chargers’ stadium in East Village. As Downes put it, “It will be the death of the area.” It was a great conversation (note to KPBS’ These Days: if you do a segment about the stadium, invite Downes) and Downes’ brought up some very salient points that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere else since Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani mention at an Oct. 30 Rotary Club meeting that the team was eying East Village.

Downes on why Petco isn’t a good reference point for a football stadium’s impact:

Petco is a smaller-format stadium. It is used four times as many occasions and has half as much of a traffic impact for each occasion. People are forgetting that a football game is less drawn-out. Everybody arrives at pretty much the same time and everybody leaves at the same time, whereas at a baseball game, people sort of come late, leave early. There are twice as many people at a football game, there are half as many games each year. It’s a totally self-serving thing; it doesn’t really serve the city. It serves the football fans and it keeps the Chargers in town. There’s other ways to keep the Chargers in town—the chargers should stay in Mission Valley. That is their home.

As I touched on in the article, Downes has a vision for East Village. “I don’t think development should be pushed down anyone’s throat. It should be very incremental and happen in a very natural way,” he said. I asked why he thinks East Village has been slow to redevelop. His response:

A lot of it has to do with big towers taking over whole blocks. Really, what would be very cool is if that all happened sort of in mid East Village, upper East Village, and then lower East Village it would be great if it was lots of little projects. Lots of architects, developers, land owners, creative types took over smaller parcels and did their thing and had a whole village of funky, creative—I call it ‘free zone.’ I’d really like to see it less impacted by bureacracy and be self-governong and self-policing. I see that as a possibility for something really unique—a little edgy, but safe, but not all historic lamps and all that nonsense.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. SanDiegoParrothead permalink
    November 20, 2009 - 7:58 am 7:58 am

    “…There are twice as many people at a football game…”

    Try 4x as many people.

    Eagles – Chargers game had 68000+. I was at some padres games that had around 18000.

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