05
Oct

Inside Block D: Downtown’s distinctive new office development

“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that Block D is a really critical part of the Makers Quarter planning process”

Mark Cafferty, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

Small though it may be, the brand new 60,000-square-foot office development in East Village’s Makers Quarter is envisioned as the harbinger of a commercial real-estate renaissance that will draw corporate elites and create more jobs for downtown’s booming residential population.

That’s a lot to ask of a low-rise building with modestly sized 75-foot-wide floors.

But the project, known as Block D, aims to elevate itself into the upper echelon of modern work spaces with distinctive features such as automated exterior blinds on each floor that combat glare on demand. The 26 motorized, glass garage doors, spread purposefully throughout the property, also supply fresh air when needed.

And generously sized outdoor spaces, along with open-air staircases on the north and south sides of the building, should entice workers to venture outside when taking breaks or moving between floors.

Technophiles will appreciate the building’s connectivity features. Everything, including the aforementioned blinds and garage doors, can be monitored and adjusted through an online dashboard. Plus, environmentalists can take comfort knowing that Block D is intended to be a “perfect” building, meaning it should generate enough power from its double-sided solar panels to sustain itself.

“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that Block D is a really critical part of the Makers Quarter planning process,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

Makers Quarter, a makeover of the Jerome’s Furniture family property holdings, is south of City College and bounded by Broadway and G Street and 14th and 17th streets. Developed by Lankford & Associates, Hensel Phelps and HP Investors, it was master-planned to include around 1 million square feet of office space, roughly 140,000 square feet of retail and 800-plus housing units.

Much of the East Village community is still theoretical, with Block D the face of Makers Quarter’s broader office vision. It joins Punch Bowl Social, 10 Barrel Brewing and the 265-unit residential development Broadstone Makers Quarter as concrete examples that a grander plan is in play — if demand warrants.

When it comes to office development, that’s not exactly a given, though, according to Jason Hughes, chairman and chief executive of commercial leasing firm Hughes Marino.

“It’s just the Wild West out there,” he said, characterizing the East Village blocks as a “no-man’s land” with minimal amenities, prevalent homelessness and rents too high for corporate clients.

Block D, for its part, is already 70 percent…

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Reprinted via San Diego Union Tribune
Photo Credit:  Nick Merrick/Maker’s Quarter