Monday, November 8, 2010

Roll tide, but in downtown San Diego

Back in 2008, I wrote a post entitled Roll tide in my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog. No, it didn't have to do with one of the life lessons my grandma taught me (a love of the University of Alabama football team). It had to do with a concept of economic devastation in the suburban and exurban areas of the Inland Empire, best expressed by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. From the latter:

“It’s like an ebbing of this suburban tide,” said Joe Cortright, an economist at the consulting group Impresa Inc. in Portland, Ore. “There’s going to be this kind of reversal of desirability. Typically, Americans have felt the periphery was most desirable, and now there’s going to be a reversion to the center.”

In a recent study, Mr. Cortright found that house prices in the urban centers of Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland and Tampa have fared significantly better than those in the suburbs. So-called exurbs — communities sprouting on the distant edges of metropolitan areas — have suffered worst of all, Mr. Cortright found.

In my post, I took a different view:

If the real estate market were like a tide, then Moreno Valley (an outlying suburb) may fade away and the inland areas would remain. However, as I've noted, the devastation is occurring everywhere.

In a comment on a more recent post, Joel Garry alerted me to something that supports my theory.

Westfield Group proposed Wednesday to demolish one of the original anchor department store buildings at the iconic Horton Plaza shopping center and to give the space back to the city for use as a 1.5-acre Times Square-type gathering space....

The idea to demolish what's called the Robinson's-May Building and enlarge Horton Plaza Park was broached at a joint meeting of two committees of the Centre City Development Corp....

[I]f no action is taken, CCDC Chairman Fred Maas there is a chance the fortunes of the center will continue to deterioriate and Westfield, which has promised to retain ownership of the property, might ultimately close Horton Plaza.

Horton Plaza is definitely not an exurban mall; it's right in the heart of San Diego.

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I was there years and years ago - we bought an electrical adapter so that we could use a 240V cooking device that some foreign friends had given us - and I don't even remember the Robinson's-May building. So I obviously won't miss it.
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