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San Diego — You’ve seen the cranes. You’ve heard about the plans. You know all about the more than $1 billion in investment activity currently underway in University Towne Centre. (See map of projects on pages 14-15.)

The San Diego Business Journal has done a superb job of reporting about each of the components of UTC’s transformation — from the $700 million makeover of the multiple phases of the Westfield UTC shopping center to the new modern apartment, office and R&D buildings, to the expansion of state-of-the-art mass transit.

Taken individually, any one of these efforts is exciting.

But if you were to scale up to the top of one of the cranes dotting La Jolla right now and look out at the entire, changing landscape, the larger picture of UTC’s transformation begins to crystallize. 

When the dust settles and the new shopping center’s walkways stretch out before you, when the highly anticipated Red O Restaurant at The Plaza starts taking reservations, UTC will truly realize the vision of its master plan as the ultimate live, work, play destination.

Forward-thinking companies in biotech, technology and virtually every other industry recognize that their employees blend their careers and personal lives like never before — more actively and more collaboratively. UTC already offers proximity to outstanding talent at the world-class University of California, San Diego. Soon, they will be a short stroll from even more world-class shopping, dining, housing and entertainment options. 

Investments Drive Results

The battle to recruit and retain talent is a big deal.

That’s why many of the new UTC office projects include amenities and services that today’s workforce covets, such as Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor living rooms for employees to meet or relax, upscale fitness and wellness services and community events to inspire people from various companies to meet and learn from one another. These investments drive productivity, innovation and ultimately growth.

They also enhance the lives of employees, visitors and residents.

They are among the reasons the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) invested in the “largest public transit project in the history of the San Diego region,” extending the Mid-Coast Trolley to UTC from downtown and the international border.

The excitement is also drawing companies from other markets, such as Del Mar, and leading renowned companies such as Illumina to plant deeper roots in UTC. The biotech company, which employs 2,000 people in San Diego, will occupy BioMed Realty’s entire 316,000-square-foot campus when it opens in July. Illumina is among the innovative businesses and forward-thinking individuals eyeing UTC’s progress expectantly.

Workplace Communities

The centerpiece of the makeover is the Westfield UTC shopping center, which will rival Westfield’s finest locations and add 395,000 square feet of dining, shopping and entertainment space to this already vibrant city. 

In addition, Irvine Co. has invested more than $150 million in new office buildings at One La Jolla Plaza, Eastgate Summit and Eastgate Terrace. The company has also invested more than $40 million to enhance all interior and exterior shared common areas in our existing properties while adding innovative new services and programmed events to create “workplace communities” that help our customers’ businesses flourish.

Based on the activity, we aren’t alone in our long-term passion for UTC as a vibrant place to live, work, play and visit.

Billions of dollars in private investment. NextGen office buildings. Award-winning restaurants. New mass transit. Minutes from the ocean.

Individually, any one of these is exciting.

Together, the plans for UTC are spectacular.

Doug Holte is the president of Irvine Company Office Properties.


Originally published by San Diego Business Journal

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