Mercado del Barrio: A reflection of Barrio Logan
A long-planned commercial and residential project in Logan Heights broke ground last week among cheers of local residents and supporters.
The Mercado del Barrio Project, which had been in the planning process for more than 20 years, will be located in the heart of the community of Barrio Logan, next to historic Chicano Park and the Coronado Bridge.
The $58.3 million, mixed-use residential and commercial project will be constructed on two vacant city blocks that cover about 6.8-acres along Cesar E. Chavez Parkway, between Main St. and National Ave. It will feature a Northgate Gonzalez Market, and 48,000-square feet of street-level retail use. The residential component of the project, Estrella del Mercado Apartments, will consist of 92 affordable rental units.
“For the years the community of Barrio Logan has wanted to see a development that improved their community, created jobs, and most importantly, respected the unique nature of the neighborhood,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I happily support this great investment and look forward to seeing the project completed.”
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on October 27, and it was attended by elected officials, community leaders, and area residents. The grand opening of Mercado del Barrio is scheduled for 2012.
“Local residents and the business community recognized the potential for this space 20 years ago,” said Council President Ben Hueso, a long-time supporter of the project. “Mercado del Barrio reflects the needs of both local residents and the business community. All of us who worked hard to make the vision a reality feel gratified that the project is now ready to break ground. We need the affordable housing and will welcome the retail shops.”
Hueso added that “for developers this might not be the most profitable project, but for Barrio Logan it is going to be the most significant project for our community. Ever. In the years I’ve been on the city council I’ve never seen such support for a community project.”
Kevin McCook, development manager at Shea Properties, one of the developers in the retail portion of the project, said that Mercado del Barrio unifies Barrio Logan.
“This project is going to have a significant impact on this community,” he said. “The community has embraced this project from the very beginning. Everybody involved came together to ensure we hit a home run for the community.”
Alicia Gonzalez, daughter of the founder of Northgate Gonzalez Market, said that this will be Northgate’s seventh store in San Diego County. She added that the supermarket chain will have a town hall meeting in the next couple of weeks to get input from the Barrio Logan community.
“Like my father says, each store we open, is an American Dream come true for us,” Gonzalez said. “We want to hear from the community and to learn what their needs are. We want this market to offer them great service, the products at the prices they think are fair.”
Public amenities at Mercado del Barrio will include art elements, pedestrian walkways, landscaping, and plazas to highlight the culture of Barrio Logan and connections to Chicano Park. The Mercado will also meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council’s requirements for LEED Certification. Construction is estimated to take place in late 2011, and be completed by 2012.
It is anticipated that the project will create 201 short-term jobs, 223 construction jobs, and 500 permanent jobs while bringing approximately $200,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. When the residential, supermarket, and commercial phases are completed and occupied, the Mercado del Barrio will represent an $80 million investment in the community.