San Diego-based Hammer Ventures, LLC, which develops urban properties in San Diego and Los Angeles, acquired the former U.S. Postal Service distribution center for approximately $40 million from Rexford Industrial Realty Inc. of L.A. in October 2015.
Rexford had planned to redevelop the former U.S. Postal campus, which included two buildings with a total of 373,000 rentable square feet, into new industrial space.
But Hammer Ventures is altering the redevelopment game plan of the cornerstone property located in the neighborhood of the Sports Arena in the Midway District.
The Midway District is in the final phase of a years-long community plan update, which will go before the City Council for final approval on June 26.
The Midway Community Plan update provides for a growing amount of future residential development in the largely commercial-industrial district. Some consider redevelopment of the former post office site as a key puzzle piece in planning for the entire area moving forward, which could include the future redevelopment of the Sports Arena nearby at some point.
Hammer Ventures has expressed its intent to turn the former postal site into an upscale office complex to include significant housing, apartments or condos, next door.
“We are still in the early planning stages,” said Hammer Ventures spokesperson Sam Moore, disclosing only that, “We’re keeping a portion of the existing structure.”
Noting a full plan for the redesign of The Post “is still a month or two out,” Moore added Hammer will be more forthcoming about details of its project “in the coming months when the future of the project is better understood.”
At postcoastal.com, it’s stated that The Post will be “a unique urban coastal campus” created around the landmark former Midway Post Office while noting, “the concept is inspired by the original design strength and simplicity of an envelope.”
Hammer likens the future unveiling of The Post to “the moment of excitement when opening a card or package in anticipation of what’s inside.”
In excerpts from The Post website, Hammer Venture’s vision for redevelopment proposes adapting the existing brutalist architecture of the former U.S. Post Office building to add “clean glass lines, art installations, water and color elements, landscaping and warm wood accents.”
Brutalist architecture flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. Derived from the French word for “raw,” large amounts of concrete is one of the distinguishing features of the architectural style.
According to the website, a centerpiece of the former post office redesign will be an entry promenade, on the southern edge of the existing postal-site structure, which is to include “a tree-lined pedestrian plaza creating a buffer between parking, residential and office space.”
The plaza is to have shade and space for the public to gather and mingle.
“I can’t speak for the group at this point as we haven’t discussed it,” said Cathy Kenton, chair of the Midway Community Planning Group about The Post proposal.
“I expect that we will have a presentation by the developers at next month’s meeting,”Kenton said.
MCPG will next meet Wednesday, June 21 at 3 p.m. at San Diego Community College West City Campus, 3249 Fordham St.