New Ed Center Site Website Launched

We are excited to announce that a new website has been launched at to educate the community about the rich history of the Ed Center Site, and to keep the neighborhood informed about the possible development of the site. You can also:
  • Learn about the 130-year old history of the Ed Center Site, the birthplace of University Heights and the predecessor to San Diego State University.
  • Take our survey about your priorities for development of the Ed Center Site, should it become available for new development.
  • Sign up to follow the blog, or sign up for email updates
Most importantly, please share this email with your friends and neighbors in UH! So far, 120 residents have taken our survey and we want at least 200 responses to share with Councilmember Chris Ward.
Thank you for your participation and for sharing the word!

Interest Heating Up in Ed Center Site Real Estate Exchange

Aerial-Ed Center SiteOn Wednesday, February 7th, Bill Ellig, UH resident and member of Uptown Planners, attended the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Mandatory Pre-Submittal Conference. This meeting was required for applicants wishing to submit proposals to exchange the SDUSD Ed Center site at 4100 Normal Street (and other SDUSD properties) for a new site for the District Central Office.

In the past when the District offered the Ed Center property, there was little, if any, interest. At the meeting on February 7th, many parties attended and showed keen interest in the exchange. However, it is always possible that no proposals will be submitted or that SDUSD will no approve any proposals that are submitted.

Timeline for Review and Approval of Real Estate Exchange Proposal
Following is the timeline for review and approval of real estate exchange proposals by SDUSD:

  • March 2018: Proposals due.
  • April-May 2018: Board of Education review of proposals in closed session.
  • June 2018: Approval of exchange.

Process for Approving New Development of Site
If SDUSD selects a proposal, it is always possible that the winning applicant will not want to add any additional development to the site.

However, if the winning applicant wants to develop the Ed Center site, they will have to submit their proposal to the City Planning Department. This process will be lengthy and include review and input from City staff, Uptown Planners, City Land Use Committee, City Historic Resources Board, City Planning Commission and a final decision by the City Council.

Survey Results to Date
We have been asking the community about their priorities for the Ed Center site at, should the site become available for development. 109 responses have been received to date:

  • Preservation/adaptive reuse of Teachers Training Annex: 100
  • Park/open space: 69
  • Preservation/adaptive reuse of former Alice Birney Kindergarten Classroom: 50
  • Preservation/adaptive reuse of Classroom/Men’s Locker Room: 49
  • Preservation/adaptive reuse of Eugene Brucker Office Building: 47
  • Commercial uses: 17
  • Residential units: 13

Some excellent suggestions were also made regarding other possible uses of the site:

  • New, better public library.
  • Open space, parking, community venue space, public art.
  • Large community meeting space/auditorium.
  • Museum.
  • Art school.
  • Art studios and galleries.
  • Theatre space.
  • Preserve pine, eucalyptus and olive trees.
  • Dog park.

More Community Input Needed
If you have not done so already, please complete our survey at amd share this post with your friends and neighbors in UH. We would like to submit as many responses as possible to Councilmember Chris Ward, should the Ed Center site become available for development.

Thank you for your participation!

The Future of the San Diego Unified School District Ed Center Site

School District Issues RFP for Real Estate Exchange

In December 2017, the  San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to exchange three of it properties, including the nationally designated Teachers Training Annex at 4100 Normal Street, for one property to become the new District Central Office.

The Ed Center site is approximately 11 acres and includes the historic Teachers Training Annex and two other historic buildings, but DOES NOT INCLUDE Birney Elementary School or the Joint Use Field.


The timeline for review and approval of proposals is as follows:

  • March 2018: Proposals due
  • April-May 2018: Board of Education review of proposals in closed session
  • June 2018: Approval of exchange

Historic Significance of Ed Center Site


Normal School, c. 1899

The Ed Center site is the birthplace of University Heights and the forerunner of the present San Diego State University. In 1887, University Heights was subdivided by the College Hill Land Association, which planned to build a branch of the University of Southern California in the new community. However, building never began due to the real estate bust of 1889, but a state-sponsored teacher-training college or “Normal School” was completed in 1899, designed by local architects William S. Hebbard and Irving Gill. This building was demolished in the 1950s to make way for a parking lot at the Education Center.


Teachers Training Annex

The Teachers Training Annex was built in 1910 as the training facility for the Normal School and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.  Another building on the site housed the men’s locker room for the State Normal School, and a third building once housed the kindergarten class of Alice Birney Elementary School. All three buildings remain today.

Next Steps

In accordance with Education Code Section 17536, SDUSD can exchange the three properties for one. However, if and when the exchange is completed, any proposed changes to the property will need to be reviewed and approved by the City. This process includes input from City staff, Uptown Planners and the public. Then it will be reviewed by the City Land Use Committee, Historic Resources Board, City Planning Commission and a final decision by the City Council.

The Land Use for the site is currently designated as Institutional and the underlying zoning is RM-2-5, which allows for up to 29 dwelling units per acre and four stories.

Community Input Needed

Input from the community will be very important to help guide the future use of this property. Your participation at community meetings, Uptown Planners, Historic Resources Board, Planning Commission, and City Council will ensure whatever happens to this site will be the best for University Heights, Uptown, and the City of San Diego. An upcoming meeting of the UH Community Association will be devoted to this topic. The UH Community Development Corporation and UH Library Task Force are engaged as well.

Please also provide your input via our online survey at:

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

North Park Planning Committee Election this Tuesday, March 21

From the SoNo Neighborhood Alliance

SoNo Neighborhood Alliance strongly encourages eligible residents to participate and vote in the upcoming  North Park Planning Committee (NPPC) elections.   Here is some important information you should know.

Voting Location

Tuesday, March 21
Elections begins at 6:15pm
2901 North Park Way
View requirements and agenda here

North Park Voting Qualifications

  • Anyone voting must provide photo ID – no exceptions.  Even if they know you they won’t give you a ballot without it.
  • You must have already established voting eligibility – click on voting qualification button above.
  • Vote for candidate you know will represent your interests in our community.
  • If you are unsure if you are eligible to vote or run for the election or have any other questions please contact the NPPC Chair Vicki Granowitz at or call 619-884-0008 anytime before Monday March 20 at 6 pm. Please only call between the hours of 9 am & 6 pm.

SoNo Voter Education Guide: 2017 North Park Planning Committee Candidates

Here is a roster of the 13 candidates for the nine open seats in the 2017 election with biographical background from the candidates themselves, LinkedIn pages, websites, and other public databases:

  • Jason Broad is currently Vice President, Performance Excellence at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. He has worked for the Sharp Healthcare system since 2003 and taught as an adjunct professor at USD’s Hahn School of Nursing.
  • Kate Callen is currently Senior Development Communications Writer at the National Conflict Resolution Center. She was previously a partner in the Cox & Associates Communications marketing firm and a speechwriter at the University of California.
  • Dionné Carlson (incumbent) is a past chair of NPPC’s Public Facilities, Transportation, Parks & Public Art Subcommittee, NPPC’s current liaison to the Adams Ave Business Assoc., managed an Industrial Design firm for many years, and now runs a specialty custom cabinetry business.
  • Kathleen Ferrier is currently Director of Advocacy for Circulate San Diego. She was previously Lead Project Consultant, Health Equity by Design for Walk San Diego, a Senior Planner at DeLorenzo Incorporated, and a Project Manager with Carter Reese & Associates.
  • Marc Gould is Vice president of Next Generation Investments, LLC. He is a developer of affordable housing.
  • Jonathan Herbert currently works in property management for H.G. Fenton Company. He has won two awards (2015 and 2011) from the San Diego County Apartment Association for his management of H.G. Fenton apartment complexes.
  • Peter Hill (incumbent) is a former corporate finance professional with over 10 years of volunteer experience serving North Park and the LGBT community in technical, board, and officer-level positions. He currently serves as Chair of the NPPC Urban Design & Project Review Subcommittee, and is incoming Chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Board for the North Park Maintenance Assessment District.
  • Megan Kucharski is a North Park homeowner. Her Twitter account includes a February 17 retweet of a Bike San Diego post, “Join Your Community Planning Group to Make San Diego a Better Place to Ride.”
  • Dang Nguyen (incumbent) is owner of Bar Pink and has served on the NPPC board for the past six years.   He has lived in the University Heights area of North Park with his 2 sons for many years.
  • Tim Taylor recently retired from his position as Chief Policy Advisor, City Council District 9. He was previously a Council Representative for Council District 7, a Land Use and Environmental Planner for the County of San Diego, and a Project Manager for Velocitel.
  • Sasha Varone and her husband, Chris Varone, are co-founders and principals of Studio Varone Architecture, Inc., a full-service architectural firm headquartered in downtown San Diego.
  • Eduardo Velasquez is currently a Research Manager at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. He previously worked at Wells Fargo Bank as VP/Economist and a Risk Management Consultant for CLG Credit Risk.
  • René Vidales (incumbent) is a Civil Engineer and sustainability professional with experience in both the private and public sectors. He has contributed in writing two local AEP award publications for the County of San Diego and has given presentations on North Park at two national conferences.