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Horton Plaza Downtown San Diego

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Horton Plaza is located in the heart of downtown San Diego, placed between Broadway and "G" Streets, and First and Fourth Avenues. It lies next to another of San Diego downtown jewels, the historic Gaslamp Quarter. It is close to freeways, public transportation, and Lindberg Field, San Diego's international airport.


Arriving in San Diego in 1867, Alfonzo Erastus Horton is considered the historical father of the early San Diego and he wielded important influence of the early development of the downtown area back in the late 19th century. He is considered to be responsible for the location of Horton Plaza, and San Diego's downtown, and the plaza is thus named after him. The Horton Plaza Park houses the Horton Park Fountain which is located near a bronze statue of Mr. Horton and is the neighborhood where the redefining of downtown San Diego began.

In the 1960s and '70s, the Horton Plaza was a major public transport hub with all the buses serving the San Diego suburbs, with routes ending in the downtown area, having stops there. The area was seriously run - down in the 1960s, home to a large population of homeless people. The condition of the area at that time was initially used for quite a bit of resistance and skepticism to the planned development of Horton Plaza, which eventually was overcome, to become the first successful downtown retail center since the rise of suburban shopping centers decades earlier.

The Horton Plaza redevelopment project was run by the Hahn Company and designed by architect Jon Jerde, and was considered quite risky as it was a radical departure from the standard designs of malls at the time. Conventional malls were designed to reduce ambient sources of psychological arousal, where the customer's attention is directed toward the merchandise, but rather designed the mall to be the attraction itself.

In 1972, the Horton Plaza Redevelopment Project was adopted, spearheading the transformation of downtown from the center out. It did, however, take another decade before construction began in 1982, with the Horton Plaza Shopping Mall opening for business in 1985. The mall was originally anchored by Macy's, Nordstrom, The Broadway, and J.W. Robinson's department stores, some of which are no longer there. The shopping mall has five levels of open walks framing 140 shops and restaurants in a colorful labyrinth connecting the open-air split levels, all in vibrant colors. The designs won dozens of awards for imagination, architecture and urban development. Adjacent to the shopping area is a 6 story parking facility and most of the stores will validate the parking ticket, adding to the shopper's convenience.

Horton Plaza Today

In addition to the many shops and movie-theaters, you will find many other commercial spaces such as the SBC and NBC offices, as well as luxury hotels and condominiums. This location is ideal for individuals wanting to be in the middle of the buzz of downtown, the center of San Diego's vibrant business district.

Residential opportunities are limited in the Horton Plaza area, though we find the Meridian Condominium Tower here as well as the Horton Fourth Avenue Apartments. The area also is home to Westin Hotel, the SBC and NBC offices, Spreckels and Balboa theaters, and the Federal Courthouse and Office building. The area can also boast of some of the finest and most interesting eateries in San Diego being located there.

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