Rendering of the Campus at Horton
Architect’s rendering of the future Campus at Horton. Courtesy Stockdale Capital Partners

Stockdale Capital Partners said Monday that an engineering and design firm found that the Horton Plaza redevelopment project has the necessary features to serve San Diego’s thriving life sciences sector.

A feasibility study by SmithGroup on the Campus at Horton project indicates the site has the appropriate infrastructure and other elements to establish a downtown tech hub.

Campus at Horton, which Stockdale calls one of the largest adaptive reuse and urban tech campuses in the west, will offer 700,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of restaurants, entertainment, wellness and retail.

The firm, which specializes in transforming old shopping centers, argues that the project “has the potential to become a catalyst for expansion of a leading life sciences innovation cluster on the West Coast.”

With the project projected to be completed in early 2022, officials also say it will eventually be home to at least 3,000 “high-quality jobs.”

The study found that the property has many appealing features, from 18-foot floor heights to private patios. It also has mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure adequate to the needs of laboratory and office workers.

The project also has a link to Clearway Energy Center San Diego, subterranean delivery tunnels with 44,000 square feet of space, 2,200 parking spaces and proximity to transportation and transit, including Lindbergh Field and San Diego Trolley stations.

Daniel Michaels, Stockdale’s managing director, said demand for work spaces from life sciences companies throughout California “is sky-rocketing right now.”

“For the foreseeable future, these life sciences companies are going to have bigger and bigger needs and the scope and scale of our project uniquely allows us to meet those needs,” he said.

Stockdale said some of the factors driving demand include the race for a coronavirus vaccine and an exodus from traditional technology hubs, like San Francisco, due to the high cost of living.

San Diego, said Andrew Huggett, of CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, is ideally positioned to take up the slack as “life science companies and innovation are a big part of our local and regional economy.”

“The sector has witnessed significant demand for space by existing and newly formed life science companies in San Diego and from afar. As further innovation and growth occurs, projects that are highly amenitized, efficient and functional will be in high demand,” he said.

A team of architects and consultants, led by Rios Clementi Hale Studios and Retail Design Collaborative, are set to bring the project to fruition.

Sustainability will have priority, as well, as planners seek LEED Platinum, WELL Platinum, and WiredScore certifications.

Energy saving features include facades to improve performance; solar panels on most roof surfaces, with battery storage for electricity; the first private blackwater system in San Diego, which will reduce the water footprint of the project by 50%, and a design that aims to be carbon neutral.

– Staff reports