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UC San Diego to pursue construction of 7-story La Jolla Innovation Center

UCSD is planning a 110,000-square-foot, seven-story La Jolla Innovation Center at Villa La Jolla and La Jolla Village drives.
UC San Diego is planning a 110,000-square-foot, seven-story La Jolla Innovation Center at Villa La Jolla Drive and La Jolla Village Drive.
(Bing Maps / La Jolla Light)

Hot on the heels of UC San Diego’s Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood breaking ground this month, the La Jolla university is already looking at another development project.

During the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s Jan. 7 meeting online, UCSD community liaison Anu Delouri introduced during her monthly report a proposed 110,000-square-foot, seven-story building for a site on the southwest corner of Villa La Jolla Drive and La Jolla Village Drive where Rock Bottom Brewery once operated.

Delouri said the campus is pursuing what it calls the La Jolla Innovation Center, which would house programs in the UCSD School of Medicine, UCSD Health, Academic Affairs and UCSD Extension. The development would include offices, education space, a ground-floor cafe and parking.

The entire property is currently a seven-acre commercial complex from which UCSD has leased about 90,000 square feet for decades, Delouri said. The university would acquire the land and is looking to redevelop one acre, she said.

A draft environmental impact report is being prepared and is expected to be released for a 45-day public review period in early February. A virtual public hearing will be held during that period, but a date has not been set. At that time, renderings would be available for public review.

“Following UC regent approval, anticipated in mid-2021, the project is anticipated to begin construction, with occupancy in late 2023,” Delouri said.

When asked how a project of such size would fit in the coastal zone, Delouri said, “Once under the university’s property … it will be subject to UC land management policies, including those relating to building heights, setbacks and design.”

LJCPA general member Don Schmidt called the development “shocking.”

Association trustee Nancy Manno, who also spoke out against the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, said the manner in which the Innovation Center information was given was “disingenuous” in that “it is property that the university will develop and … the community can do nothing about it. The project exceeds the 30-foot height limit, which is extremely important to the community. Once again, the university is doing what they please and not adhering to the community’s wishes.”

LJCPA President Diane Kane asked for a more complete presentation, including drawings, potential traffic impacts and any other available information, at a future LJCPA meeting. ◆