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Large Southern California Infill Projects Advance

The San Diego City Council approved a giant infill project on the site of a gravel quarry in Mission Valley during late October. The Quarry Falls project proposes 4,780 housing units in a variety of configurations, about 600,000 square feet of retail space, about 600,000 square feet of offices, 70 acres of parks and open space, and a school on the 230-acre site near the junction of Interstates 8 and 805.

The developer, Sudberry Properties, presented the project as an ideal fit within San Diego's "City of Villages" concept because of a pedestrian-friendly design, the inclusion of live-work units and housing above storefronts, close proximity to the trolley and extensive public open space.

The only vote against the project came from Councilwoman Donna Frye, who represents Mission Valley. She voiced concerns about traffic the project would generate in the already congested area. A group called San Diegans for Responsible Planning, organized by rival developer H.G. Fenton, has raised similar complaints in opposing the project. But Sudberry representatives said the company will provide improvements to five freeway interchanges as part of the development.

Meanwhile, about 110 miles north in Carson, developers of an $850 million project on a closed garbage dump conducted a formal groundbreaking ceremony on October 14. LNR Property and Hopkins Real Estate Group actually began remedial work on the site in April, but the ceremony offered Carson city officials the chance to celebrate the unusually large infill project.

Since the Cal Compact landfill closed in 1965, numerous developers and speculators have made a run at developing the 168-acre site along the 405 freeway. In the 1980s, the city approved a 2-million-square-foot shopping mall. It went nowhere. More recently, the National Football League eyed the land for a stadium. City officials, however, chose to work with LNR and Hopkins, ultimately approving a project of 1,300 apartments and condominiums, 1 million square feet of retail space and a 300-room hotel.

Originally called Avalon at South Bay, the project is now known as The Boulevards at South Bay and a 2011 opening is planned.
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