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Riverwalk development planning underway

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Featured, News | No Comments

By Jeff Clemetson | Editor

On July 25, residents of Mission Valley and Linda Vista got their first chance to learn about and give input on the proposed development that will replace the Riverwalk golf course.

The public input meeting held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center brought around 100 interested residents who gave input on the various aspects of the project — design, traffic, retail and more.

A rendering of what the Riverwalk clubhouse might look like next to the proposed river park. (Courtesy Riverwalk)

The project is in its infancy and the only designs shown to the public were general ideas of placement of land uses without a lot of specifics. However, events like the one held at Town and Country will be a part of the design process through the entire project, said Riverwalk project manager Bhavesh Parikh.

“The community engagement and doing this early is going to be a very meaty part of this process,” he said in an interview after the event. “We do believe that at the end of the day, community involvement makes for a better project. That is our objective and goal.”

Although there are currently few specifics, Parikh said the project designers do have some idea of what kinds of development it will entail.

  • The roughly 200-acre property will have 120 acres of housing and retail.
  • There will be 80 acres of park. Most will be a large parkland along the San Diego River, coupled with pocket parks in the development.

“By and large, people were very excited about the river park,” Parikh said. “Mission Valley is a community that is significantly lacking in park space, so to have the opportunity to add 80 acres in a place that has relatively low park area, I think people were excited about that.”

  • An estimated 4,000 dwelling units will be built.
  • Roughly 1 million square feet of commercial space will be built.
  • Building heights will vary, depending on their placement to existing neighboring buildings with a range of three to seven stories tall.

“There are various strategies how to make neighboring properties feel like there is less imposing of a building against them,” Parikh said. “So those are strategies that we will implement with our design team going forward.”

  • Riverwalk is planning to build a trolley stop that will be surrounded by the retail buildings. Parikh said his group has started the dialogue with MTS on a potential trolley station and they are generally in favor of it.

“In terms of the exact location and the logistics of all of it, that still needs to be worked out with them and their engineering team,” he said.

Neighbors voiced concern about the amount of traffic the project would generate. Parikh said the current master plan for Riverwalk allows for even more development than his group plans to build, so there will be less traffic than they are legally allowed to generate, but more than what the golf course currently does.

At the Town and Country event, neighbors used a “mobility station” to give input on where they currently experience the most traffic and where they see potential traffic problems. “We’re going to take in all that input, which was the goal of that night, and work through it and shape a [traffic] plan,” Parikh said.

Some of the positive feedback for the proposal, as it now stands, included the park space, the planned sustainability efforts of the project, the opportunity for expanded retail, the planned biking and walking trails, and the enhanced flood-control mitigation.

“One of things that has been problematic is Fashion Valley Road. We always see on the news when it rains that there is that dip section where the San Diego River crosses over the dip in the road,” Parikh said. “We’re going to be working with our team on a solution to lifting that dip section so that larger storm events can pass beneath it and that road can stay open more frequently than it does.”

The next community workshop will be held in early September and will be all about the large river park that will hook up with and be a part of the San Diego River Park Master Plan — a plan to create a mostly continuous park along the San Diego River from East County to the beach.

“The focus will be on the things that the community wants to see in the river park area, what are things that are lacking that they think at this location will be beneficial to the community,” Parikh said.

For more information on upcoming community planning workshops or to give your own input on the project through a virtual workshop, visit riverwalksd.com.

—Reach Jeff Clemetson at jeff@sdcnn.com.

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