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SAN DIEGO-With design plans for its proposed Deca facility now complete, the La Jolla Pacific Development Group entity UP Inc. is gearing up to start the demolition phase of the $23-million project, which is slated to rise on 3740 Park Blvd. near the Hillcrest area of San Diego. The mixed-use development will bring a touch of Art Deco glamour back to Park Boulevard, as it involves the replication of a 1920s facility that currently stands on the site.”One of the main defining features that inspired Deca’s architecture was an existing, historically designated structure on the site,” Neville Willsmore tells GlobeSt.com. Willsmore is a project manager with KMA Architecture & Engineering, which has designed the new Deca facility for developer UP Inc. The new building will actually be a near replication of the 1920s property, as KMA has incorporated everything from the silver doors with galley windows to the prominent canopies into the design of the new facility. “The architecture is best described as intersecting geometries that are typical of the Streamlined Moderne style of the 1920s,” Willsmore says. The original facility will be torn down, with demolition expected to begin in September or October of this year. “The proposal is to demolish the structure, but reconstruct the curvilinear storefront in the same location and to the same scale and with the same materials as the existing building, so that even though it will be entirely new construction, it will have the same character and scale and proportion as the original,” Willsmore explains. It was, in fact, the facility’s character, as well as its favorable location, that first drew UP Inc. to the site. “It had a lot of historic recognition to it and it’s just a great location,” says Mike McPhee, the founder of La Jolla Pacific Development Group. He tells GlobeSt.com that the facility was previously the home of Exclusive Dry Cleaners, which was one of the city’s most well-known dry cleaning services in its heyday. “If you talk to anybody who’s over 30 years old in San Diego, they or their parents or somebody they know used to take their clothes there. It was the upscale dry cleaner of all of San Diego,” McPhee says. The age and construction of the building, however, has meant that it will have to be torn down. “The problem is, of course, that as time has gone by, the building codes have changed, so the existing structure doesn’t meet any fire and life safety codes, nor is it seismically safe,” Willsmore tells GlobeSt.com. UP Inc. is working with San Diego’s Historical Resources Board to figure out all the details of the reconstruction. “We’re working with the HRB to come up with a plan to document the building and then tear it down and then reproduce the facility in exactly the same location,” McPhee explains, noting that the process is a tricky one because “the old materials and design don’t meet any codes.”The building’s prior use will also cause some complications for the developer, as Willsmore points out. “One of the other challenges on the site and the reason why it has not been developed for some time is that it was used by a dry cleaner,” he says, explaining that “some of the chemicals have leached into the soil, so it’s a contaminated site. There is some money that needs to be spent on soil remediation, prior to construction starting.” Construction is expected to commence in the last quarter of this year and take up the better part of next year, Willsmore tells GlobeSt.com. Occupancy is expected to begin towards the end of December 2005. Upon completion, Deca will be comprised of 37 apartments, including eight rowhomes and three penthouse units. The project will also contain two levels of subterranean parking, street-level retail, and a public plaza that will complement the commercial space. “We are hoping to get some sort of coffee use or delicatessen in the retail space, and they will have this nice pedestrian plaza for outside eating,” McPhee says.With its location on a major bus route and within walking distance to Hillcrest, Deca is expected to fit in nicely with the city’s new focus on urbanism. “I grew up in San Diego and saw it expand out to the suburbs and now everything is sort of collapsing back to Downtown, Hillcrest and Northpark,” McPhee notes. “It was a long time coming, but it’s being well received.”

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