The smoke stack and the rest of the Encina Power Station have been demolished.
What does this mean for Carlsbad?
Before agreeing to support the approval of the new plant, the city negotiated an agreement with NRG and SDG&E to help ensure the project would provide the greatest local community benefit possible.
Some of the provisions of this agreement include:
A guarantee that NRG will completely decommission, demolish and remediate the old Encina Power Station site within three years of Encina’s retirement, at no cost to taxpayers.
NRG will turn over to the city several pieces of property surrounding the lagoon and the blufftop across from the plant. NRG will work with the city and the community to create a plan for the site’s future use.
What can go on the site?
The General Plan envisions redevelopment of the Encina Power Station, as well as the adjacent SDG&E North Coast Service Center, with visitor-serving commercial and open space uses to provide residents and visitors enhanced opportunities for coastal access and services, reflecting the California Coastal Act’s goal of “maximizing public access to the coast.”
Construction began this week at 901 West Washington St. in Mission Hills, where developer Soheil Nakhshab is building 54 studio apartments. He likens each unit’s design to a Swiss Army knife, with built-in tables and beds that fold up into the walls.
The project would not have been possible without Complete Communities, San Diego’s most aggressive attempt yet at encouraging high-density housing near public transit.
Approved by the City Council in November 2020, just one month before Mayor Kevin Faulconer and five councilmembers left office, Complete Communities allows developers to build apartments with unlimited density and height if they agree to set aside a much greater share of the homes as affordable housing than would otherwise be required.
The program is designed to withstand political and neighborhood opposition to individual projects, letting developers bypass the Planning Commission and City Council and get building permits directly from city staffers. The result has been swift approval of bigger projects with smaller, less-expensive homes.
Sites zoned for single-family homes are not eligible for Complete Communities, no matter how close they are to public transit.
Nakhshab said his project, which includes no off-street parking, would open up Mission Hills to more young professionals who don’t want the expense of car ownership and can’t afford the pricey single-family homes that dominate the neighborhood.
“What we’re trying to do is give them an opportunity to live in a prosperous, vibrant neighborhood with tons of public amenities at an affordable rate,” Nakhshab said.
San Francisco is no longer the nation’s least affordable metro area, being surpassed by San Diego, it’s neighborhood to the south. The latest OJO Labs unaffordability report saw San Diego bypass both San Francisco and Los Angeles to become the nation’s least affordable metro by comparing median home price to local incomes.
The median home sold price in San Diego climbed 14.3% in January to $764,000, bringing the city’s unaffordability score — a ratio of home sold price to median household income — to 8.1.
And despite San Francisco still boasting the most expensive housing stock of any metro in the U.S., a 4.2% home sold price decrease in January on an annual basis actually drove San Francisco’s unaffordability score below 8 for the first time since OJO Labs began tracking the data in July 2021. In January, San Francisco’s unaffordability score fell to 7.9, down from 9.2 last month.
Los Angeles; Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; and Boise, Idaho metro areas rounded out the top five least affordable metro areas in the U.S.
Unaffordability score is a ratio that’s derived from monthly median housing prices and median household income. The higher the score, the more unaffordable a metro area is for a household making the median income. Median home price data is drawn from local multiple listing service sold data and median household income is derived from 2016-19 census data.
The South Carlsbad Coastline Project is stirring a lot of interest from people at the prospect of transforming 60 acres of city-owned land along the 101 Coast Highway. City planners held a virtual public meeting Monday to discuss the vision and hear ideas from people who live in Carlsbad.
“We really want to start with, ‘What’s the overall vision?’ We want to let people imagine what they want this space to be,” said Kristina Ray, spokesperson for the City of Carlsbad.
In May of 2020, the City of Carlsbad acquired grant funding for over $500,000 from the California State Coastal Conservancy to design a plan that would increase resilience to rising sea levels. Part of this effort would involve relocating South Carlsbad Boulevard further away from the coastline.
“We want to create more space for people, move the road over to the east a little bit, and you would free up like 60 acres worth of land,” said Ray.
The year 2021 will be remembered as the year they tore down the Murph.
It opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium, and then re-named Jack Murphy Stadium after the local sportswriter who helped build support for its construction. The surrounding area was fairly innocent at the time – for a short time in the 1980’s, I lived where homes were built in the bottom right, and used to walk to Padres games:
It was the only stadium ever to host both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year (1998), and it was one of three stadiums to host the World Series, the MLB All-Star Game, and the Super Bowl (along with the Metrodome in Minneapolis and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles).
This shot of the 1992 All-Star Game became one of the most iconic photos in local history, and ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame:
The 2021 view from the same spot:
My favorite demo photograph – the scoreboard standing alone in an appropriately-unnamed stadium:
Here is epic drone footage of the final days:
The big-time concerts held at the Murph were legendary – we were there for the Eagles, and the last two:
The stadium hosted the Chargers and Padres, Holiday and Poinsettia Bowl games, SDSU football, rugby, high-school football championships, soccer, motocross, car races, the Super Trucks, used-car sales, American Idol, Billy Graham, and the Boy Scouts for their annual Scout Fair!