An aerial view of Horton Plaza as it stands today | Courtesy a representative of Stockdale Capital Partners

Stockdale Details Plans for Horton Plaza MXD

Carrie Rossenfeld Residential & Mixed Use

As SoCal Real Estate reported earlier this week,Stockdale Capital Partners has acquired Horton Plaza and plans to transform it in into The Campus at Horton, a “vibrant, highly amenitized mixed-use retail and creative-office complex with a multitude of food and beverage, lifestyle retail, and entertainment venues,” according to a release from a representative of Stockdale Capital. Now, a different representative of the firm has released new information about the project and the reasons for its development.

According to a statement released by the latest representative, the project will be a “major retail and creative-office campus” that “will support a high-end, innovative, creative-office hub Downtown.” The acquisition was the first step in the firm’s plans, the release says, describing Horton Plaza as “a 10-acre retail mall in the heart of Downtown San Diego,” which the firm acquired from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “Stockdale Capital plans to transform the 1980s mall into a high-density, mixed-use development anchored by tech-oriented, creative-office space curated with lifestyle retail, entertainment, and public neighborhood amenities,” the statement says.

The project will feature as much as 1 million square feet of creative-office and retail space, along with an activated public boardwalk, amenity deck, and park, the statement reveals.

Steven Yari, managing director of Stockdale Capital Partners, says in the statement, “A state-of-the-art, high-density innovation community in the heart of San Diego will bring thousands of well-paid jobs Downtown as well as transform the Gaslamp district and adjacent neighborhoods, much as has happened in other cities around the country, such as Austin, Chicago’s West Loop, and even Old Town Scottsdale.”

Daniel Michaels, also managing director for Stockdale Capital Partners, adds in the statement that one of the firm’s goals is to make San Diego “a serious contender for growing tech and biotech employers. The city has all the elements necessary for a vibrant live-work-play environment, save for the large blocks of urban, creative workspace craved by major employers.” He says that the Campus at Horton is designed to fill that need.

The statement also says that an analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution suggests that San Diego’s population has the third-highest percentage of millennials among the 100 highest metro areas. This percentage surpasses those of San Francisco; Seattle; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Washington, DC; and falls just short of Austin, Texas, the rep reports. As SoCal Real Estate recently reported, millennials account for 40 percent of Downtown San Diego’s population, and the release states that 21 percent of Downtown residents are Gen X workers with rents that are more affordable than San Francisco, Seattle, or Los Angeles.

In addition, the statement goes on to say, while the greater San Diego area is already a major national market in terms of its concentration of life-science companies, few of these employers are located Downtown; most are based in outlying suburban submarkets such as Torrey Pines and Sorrento Mesa. The project aims to remedy this by bringing more companies Downtown.

“This concentration of suburban office creates one of the worst reverse commutes in California for employees living Downtown,” the statement says. “In the second quarter of this year, San Diego life-science ventures secured a record $413 million in VC funding, and the city trails only greater Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area in its concentration of biotech and related companies.”

Moreover, the project will have easy access to public transportation and the airport, the release points out. And the strong amount of residential development currently underway in this submarket supports the development of The Campus at Horton—the statement says more than 4,500 residential units are under construction, with more than 4,000 in the pipeline, and the City plans to house 90,000 residents in the Downtown region by 2035.

According to the statement, Stockdale has executed a similar strategy in Scottsdale, Arizona, where in 2013 it acquired the Galleria, a former mall converted into a creative-office complex. “The firm executed a multi-million-dollar renovation, leveraging the large, open floor plates and high ceiling heights desired by today’s tech tenants and leased the 560,000 square foot campus to technology leaders such as Yelp, Indeed, Zillow and Square,” the release says, adding that the firm is currently developing another creative-office building adjacent to the Galleria as demand for this type of space has continued to grow in that market.