Major projects in Balboa Park near completion!

To make room for pumpkin pie, today I took a brisk walk through Balboa Park. And I noticed some of the major projects that have been underway this year appear to be nearing completion!

In June I took photos of early construction throughout Balboa Park and posted them here. In August I took more photos documenting the progress of these projects and posted them here and here. (The three links will lead you to more information concerning various changes in the park.)

Now its already late November. What did I see during this walk?

First, the observation platform underneath the gigantic Moreton Bay Fig tree by the Natural History Museum is almost finished! It features some cool log benches. Take a look…

Next, I walked around the House of Charm, which is being renovated to accommodate a completely redesigned, enlarged Mingei International Museum.

The building’s iconic façade behind a fence and trees has a fresh coat of paint, but I failed to take a photograph of it from the Plaza de Panama. The scaffolding has been removed from both the front and back of the building. The House of Charm’s newly painted tower, which overlooks the Alcazar Garden, is more beautiful than ever.

The first photo coming up shows some of the museum’s expansion.

I can’t wait to visit the Mingei once everything is completed!

Next I walked completely around the International Cottages.

Nine member nations of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages will eventually move into five new structures that are being built.

And the new cottages look like they’re almost done!

Finally, I arrived at the South Palisades’ brand new plaza. The yellow tape around it is gone. Colorful umbrellas over tables are open! On a quiet Thanksgiving afternoon, a few people were already enjoying the spacious plaza!

You can see how the San Diego Automotive Museum also has a new paint job. Once amazing new murals appear over the front entrance, and cool vehicles are placed in the display areas in front, the museum will be more inviting than ever!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Historic Adams Avenue Theater restoration!

The historic 1930 Adams Avenue Theater building is being restored. The beloved Normal Heights landmark, home of Discount Fabrics for several decades, is now being remodeled according to a sign I spotted in a window near the entrance yesterday!

According to the posted sign, the new Adams Avenue Theater will be a “city chic, multi-purpose theater and private event space”–the perfect place for community events, concerts, weddings and social gatherings.

A little online research indicates the old movie house in the 1970’s and 80’s became a center for the punk rock and new wave music scene. Bands that performed here in concert include Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, R.E.M., the Stray Cats, Iggy Pop, the Cramps and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I love it when elegant old neighborhood movie theaters are returned to their former glory. Especially when the walls of those theaters encompass so much history.

I’m sure many have fond memories of this special place!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park unveils new plan!

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

I just learned that the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has announced big plans for their future!

The long-hoped-for renovation of Starlight is now moving ahead! You can see the phased plan, including several renderings, by visiting their website page concerning the project here.

The visionary plan includes multiple stages, enhanced seating, a concession stand with healthier food offerings, and a digital media center that will be used by students across the county. As they explain: “Our goal is to empower students with an interest in the creative arts. Through seminars and a hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology, students gain the tools they need to pursue a future utilizing multimedia arts, and have the opportunity to connect with Balboa Park.”

I personally have very fond memories of the Starlight Bowl, which I’ve mentioned in the past. I remember that as a young man my family and I watched performances under the San Diego stars of several plays, including Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance. But that was decades ago, long before the San Diego Civic Light Opera went belly up in 2011.

For many years this large historic amphitheater in the Palisades area of Balboa Park has gone unused. Occasionally groups of volunteers have assembled to pull weeds between rows of seats.

Not only is the entire South Palisades area presently receiving a major upgrade (a new pedestrian plaza, the coming Comic-Con Museum and a beautified Automotive Museum with fantastic murals), but it appears that the Starlight Bowl is now set to enjoy a very bright and vibrant future!

Check out their amazing plans and perhaps become involved here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Family Court building’s demolition.

Yesterday morning, as I walked down from the top of Cortez Hill, I had to pause at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Cedar Street. I noticed that the now vacant old San Diego Superior Court Family Court Building is finally being demolished!

I’ve read that an 8-story affordable housing building called “Kindred” will be built where the past courthouse stood.

When I took a little detour to walk around the block, I observed those colorful murals on the rooftop that I photographed earlier this year here are vanishing, too!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Creating a bike lane on Fifth Avenue.

A segment of Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego will soon have a dedicated bike lane. I paused to watch work on the separate new lane as I walked to a trolley station this morning.

This particular project is on the north edge of downtown. The segment you see in my photos will connect with the already finished bike lane in Bankers Hill, which is a short distance farther north.

Once everything is completed, bicyclists will be able to safely head up Fifth Avenue, from downtown through Bankers Hill to Hillcrest.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

First look at new Town and Country river park!

The beautiful new river park in Mission Valley between the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center and the Fashion Valley Transit Center will soon be completed. Today I noticed the construction fences were down and the park was wide open to the public, so of course I had to walk around and explore.

After checking out the corner of the park next to the trolley station, I walked east following the elevated trolley tracks, turned south, passed an unfinished information kiosk, and crossed the San Diego River via the pedestrian bridge. I then walked along the winding new path on the south side of the river.

You might notice some intriguing, very unique public artwork. What appear to be tree trunks have been wrapped with bands containing words that concern the natural and human history of the San Diego River.

As I walked along the grassy green linear park, I spotted something slender and white down near the water. It was a great egret. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photograph.

I think I might use those park benches in the future! Looks like a perfect place to sit and read.

If you want to see a few photos I took a couple weeks ago, when this new river park was less developed, click here.

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San Diego Stadium parking lot vanishes!

The enormous parking lot around San Diego Stadium–which over the years has been called SDCCU, Qualcomm and Jack Murphy Stadium, and which has been the home of the Chargers, Padres and SDSU Aztecs–is vanishing!

Check out a few photos I took today from a corner of the raised platform at the Stadium trolley station. The west portion of the 120 acre parking lot–once the largest parking lot west of the Mississippi River–is being removed to make way for the “SDSU West” Mission Valley development.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Old mural that encourages voting vanishes!

American's future: your choice. VOTE.
An old mural painted on a building in downtown San Diego. America’s future: your choice. VOTE.

For years and years, the above mural has decorated the side of a building on Broadway near the City College trolley station. It encourages voting.

The familiar old mural will soon completely disappear as new construction in front of it rises.

It’s an election year, so I figured this mural deserved one final look!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Progress at Town and Country’s new river park!

Progress continues to be made in the construction of a new linear river park in Mission Valley. The park will be located at the north edge of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center.

Lots of workers were out this morning getting the new park ready!

I noticed more foliage has been planted, the pedestrian bridge over the San Diego River has been reinstalled, and that some more concrete pathways have been poured.

Back in June I posted a photograph of this new riverfront park under construction and provided some information concerning the project:

An ugly old parking lot of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is being converted into park space. And the north side of the San Diego River, directly adjacent to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, will be part of this new public park, too!

The project, which includes almost 8 acres of restored natural habitat, and beautiful new pathways along the San Diego River, is part of the Town and Country hotel’s extensive property-wide renovation.

This morning I attempted to get photos of construction near the hotel, but trees and distance were insurmountable for my little camera. Perhaps I’ll walk that way in the days ahead to see more. From the trolley I did observe a long new pathway winding along the south side of the river!

UPDATE!

A few days later, I noticed sod and benches have been installed!

IMG_6203z

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Even more changes come to Balboa Park!

Another weekend, another walk in Balboa Park.

I passed through the sunny park about noontime today and noticed even more changes to San Diego’s crown jewel!

First, the Museum of Man has changed its name. It’s now the Museum of Us. Which not only sounds more inclusive, but it strikes me as less stodgy and more personally relatable. Various banners hung about the California Quadrangle reflect the anthropology museum’s recent name change.

Next, I noticed that scaffolding is now up around the House of Charm’s tower and in front of the historic building’s facade. The Mingei International Museum’s huge renovation and expansion continues!

On the west side of the Plaza de Panama a new bronze plaque honors winners of the Patrons of the Prado ICON Award for Arts and Culture. Winners have greatly benefited many of San Diego’s leading cultural institutions.

Then, as I headed through the park, I noticed a fifth new structure is finally rising at the International Cottages. This cottage, when finished, will be home to the House of the Philippines. I took a photo of an informative banner on the construction fence.

Lastly, I took photos of a small but beautiful change that occurred a couple of months ago. But until today I haven’t blogged about it.

At the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way, at the southwest corner of the Veterans Museum parking lot, a small flower-filled succulent garden has been created!

There are so many changes happening in Balboa Park, it’s hard to keep track of them all!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!