Miller Hull


San Diego, CA
Driving innovation into downtown San Diego
Client IDEA Partners
Size 360,000 SF
Completion 2017


Built on the strong pillars of Innovation, Design, Education and Arts, this vibrant mixed-use cluster targeting design and technology jobs supports innovation-based economic development by creating a human-scaled environment that matters. Since its inception seven years ago, the I.D.E.A. District has emerged as a laboratory for creative placemaking and entrepreneurial development. Completed projects include a new K-8 charter school, multiple new restaurants, a tactical urbanism community block called Quartyard and University of California, San Diego’s first downtown campus extension that will open in 2020.

The 360,000-square-foot city block development mixes offices, residential, fitness and restaurants to encourage social and business connections among inhabitants and the broader neighborhood. The project includes the following programmatic elements:

  • Creative Office Space: With over 50,000-square-foot of future office space, units are available with large open bays, designed as raw, creative and reconfigurable space. With high ceilings and full height glazing, these spaces are desirable to creative individuals and firms, whether major corporations or startups.
  • Startup Housing: With 295 total units, the focus is on flexible, fresh and current spaces for today’s urban dweller. Target residents include entrepreneurs, collaborators, recent grads and downtown workers. The project features over 37 unit plans, including lofts, studios, ground-level live/work flats, warehouse infill units and penthouses.
  • Retail and Restaurants: Over 12,000-square-foot of street level retail is intended for unique tenants and provides the physical and social settings that encourage collaboration between the diverse inhabitants. For example, it can be a craft beer pub featuring live music becomes the watering hole for the District, or a “Maker Space” that allows for quick prototyping of new ideas.

To reinforce a mix of live, work and play experiences, the HUB, a large open courtyard, connects commercial and residential occupants in a ground-floor event space. The HUB not only links building inhabitants, but the larger community through open paseos connecting to surrounding streets. Designed to support the entrepreneurial spirit, the HUB includes a 10-foot-by-16-foot projection screen, stage area and Bluetooth audio for lectures, industry talks and forums. By providing curated programming and encouraging collision amongst residents, IDEA1 seeks to advance not only resident innovation, but also the health of businesses throughout the I.D.E.A. District. Concerts, cultural events and rotating art installations support the sense of community and place for both tenants and visitors.

IDEA1 strives to create a healthy place through community. It provides residents and visitors programming and experiences that bring thinkers, innovators, creators and makers together. For example, Seamus O’Neill, an East Village resident and business owner for over 30 years, will be relocating his Bike Café to IDEA1. This provides Seamus the opportunity to grow his small business and promotes cycling instead of driving. Residents have easy access to bike storage and repair at his shop we all an additional place to intermingle with the community. The mixed-use project is planned to have the Bike Café, restaurants, a brewery, coffee shop and retail, all individual businesses that support the IDEA1’s viability and each other’s success.