Horton Hears a Redevelopment

Horton Plaza Mall conversion moves forward with $330 million construction loan

The Campus at Horton is expected to bring around 4,000 tech jobs to Downtown San Diego. (Courtesy Stockdale Capital Partners)

The future of the Horton Plaza Mall, the Jon Jerde-designed postmodern icon in Downtown San Diego, continues to tip in favor of its transition into an office campus. Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Stockdale Capital Partners purchased the property two years ago for $175 million and has recently secured a construction loan of $330 million, allowing the redevelopment to be completed as early as 2022. “With all major entitlement hurdles behind us and this financing now secure,” Daniel Michaels, a managing director at Stockdale, told Times of San Diego, “we look forward to completing our redevelopment and revitalizing this incredible asset, we are moving full steam ahead with leasing discussions and hope to announce a mix of exciting and impactful tenants shortly.”

Aerial view of several buildings and a street intersection

Renderings indicate extant elements of the Horton Plaza Mall will be incorporated into the redevelopment. (Courtesy Stockdale Capital Partners)

The project, named The Campus at Horton, is designed by Los Angeles-based architects RCH Studios (formerly Rios Clementi Hale) and EYRC Architects, with RDC as the architect of record. The redevelopment will effectively transform the 10-block property into an office campus with 772,000 square feet of office space for tech firms and an additional 300,00 square feet for ground-floor retail—less than half the amount of the retail space currently in the Horton Plaza Mall. Though it may incorporate some of the original buildings’ spatial layout and facades, as the renderings suggest, the redevelopment stands in sharp contrast to the building it replaces. “The Campus at Horton will be the pinnacle of mixed-use campuses in Downtown and the exemplification of what’s possible when innovative office design meets access to leading food, beverage, health and wellness offerings, said Steven Yari, managing director at Stockdale Capital Partners, in a press statement. “We’re creating what we believe is the best product of its kind in San Diego—a place that will be a hub for thousands of high-tech jobs from all across California and for San Diegans to enjoy and experience.”

The redevelopment was first announced last April, when the city’s economic development committee supported the change of deed request and required Stockdale to incorporate the on-site public park into their masterplan, followed by a City Council vote to demolish the original building the following month. The project was nearly compromised by a surprising lawsuit from Macy’s West Stores, Inc., one of the largest—and last remaining—business renting space in the mall. After settling their dispute in January, the department store is now preparing to jump ship from the site with a liquidation sale. The next hurdle to clear will be the finalization of Stockdale’s lease to operate and incorporate the Horton Plaza Park, currently pending City Council approval.

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