I.D.E.A. District

Navarra Family Selects Master Developer for Mixed-Use District Focused on Innovation, Design, Technology, Education and the Arts

SAN DIEGO – The Navarra family, owners of Jerome’s Furniture, has selected Lankford & Associates, Portman Holdings, and Phelps Development (who have formed a limited liability company called LPP) to be the Master Developer of its five-block property as the catalyst for a larger transformational project area, dubbed the I.D.E.A. (Innovation, Design, Education and Art) District, that includes a four-and-a-half-acre park and several other blocks in Upper East Village.

In association with the founders of the I.D.E.A. District concept, Pete Garcia and David Malmuth, the LPP team also includes Frank Wolden, principal, Carrier Johnson + Culture, and Stacey Pennington, principal, SLP Urban Planning.

“We are convinced this team has the commitment and credentials to create a bold, transformational project that will enhance the social, cultural and economic vitality of East Village for generations.  Having been a part of East Village since 1954, we want this to be one of the legacies of the Navarra family,” said Jerry Navarra, chairman of Jerome’s Furniture.  “The team offers the unique combination of world-class thinking and a history of successfully developing San Diego landmarks.”

The Navarra Upper East Village properties include full or partial ownership in five different city blocks located between F Street and Broadway and bordered by 14th, 15th, and 16th streets.

The lengthy and rigorous selection process that considered seven development teams from throughout the county was orchestrated by Sherman D. Harmer, Jr., president, Urban Housing Partners, Inc. of San Diego.

“This is the first step in realizing the incredible potential of the Upper East Village,” said Harmer.  “The Navarra properties will be the catalyst and nucleus of the transformation of East Village into a center of innovation, design and technology that could ultimately generate 10,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in new construction,” he noted. “Rarely in the history of San Diego has one family had the opportunity to make such a momentous impact on the future of the city.”

The development team has deep roots in San Diego and has worked together often on high profile projects.  Lankford & Associates, (www.lankfordandassociates.com) headed by Robert V. Lankford, has been developing landmark structures in San Diego since 1984, including Regents Square in the Golden Triangle; Advanced Equities Plaza, a 380,000-square-foot office building at 655 W. Broadway; and Smart Corner, a mixed-use residential project at the gateway of East Village.  In 1995 Lankford joint-ventured with Phelps Development to develop the $51 million San Diego Hall of Justice.

“We are very excited and honored to be selected by the Navarra family to become the master developer.  I can’t express enough the passion we have to create a great new neighborhood, create value and leave a very appropriate legacy for the Navarra family,” said Lankford.  “In my opinion, this opportunity to work with the Navarra holdings and surrounding parcels will truly redefine — not just East Village — but the entire downtown of our city, creating a sustainable, vibrant, innovation-driven sector and significant private and public economic benefits,” he added.

Portman Holdings, LLC  (www.portmanholdings.com) is a global real estate development, investment and management company headquartered in Atlanta with a 50-year history of developing hotels, retail spaces, mixed-use complexes and urban landmarks around the world.  In San Diego, Portman Holdings and Phelps Development were co-developers of the $348 million, 30-story Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and Parking Garage on the waterfront, which features 1,200 guestrooms and specialty suites.

“We’ve been keenly aware of the Navarra property for several years because of its enormous potential.  It is rare to find property in an urban setting that is large enough to make a real impact.  We are delighted to be a part of what will be a great contribution to the city,” said Roger Zampell, senior vice president of development, Portman Holdings.

Phelps Development, LLC,  (www.phelpsdevelopment.com) a wholly owned subsidiary of Hensel Phelps Construction Co. (Hensel Phelps), is one of the nation’s largest general contractors, construction managers and design-builders, delivering over $3 billion annually in construction projects.

“The Phelps organization is honored and delighted to be selected with our longtime partners Lankford & Associates and Portman Holdings to work with the Navarra family to implement their vision for the revitalization of the Upper East Village.  Phelps has had a presence in San Diego for more than 30 years and we look forward to working with our partners and local stakeholders to make East Village a special place for people to work and live,” said Eric Wilson, president, Phelps Development.

Garcia and Malmuth developed the I.D.E.A. District concept as an engine to transform Upper East Village into a sustainable, mixed-use innovation district, driven by the marriage of design and technology, and supported by education and the arts.

“The willingness of the Navarra family to embrace the I.D.E.A. District is the lightning rod East Village needed to transform it into a dynamic center of co-location and clustering in the areas of innovation and design,” said Garcia, a builder, developer, and artist who is the past-chairman of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Foundation.

Malmuth, who led the renovation of the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City while with the Walt Disney Company and developed the Kodak Theatre complex in Hollywood, pointed to Torrey Pines and Sorrento Valley as prime examples of successful clustering in the biotechnology and telecommunication industries.

He said, “UCSD was a catalyst for that transformation by attracting world-class scientists and engineers and creating a network of entrepreneurs, students, scientists, venture capitalists, and business leaders who all benefited from each other.  In East Village, the expanded NewSchool of Architecture and Design, The San Diego City College, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) all provide us with a strong educational base from which to grow an innovation cluster.”

Media Contact: Barbara Metz, Metz Public Relations 858-677-0720 metzpr@gmail.com