9th & Broadway Lofts

San Diego, California

Adaptive-reuse project saves structure of vacant building and revitalizes the retail and residential components

A long-vacant two-story, 10,000-square-foot building in downtown San Diego was renovated into an effective ground-level retail space, with seven residential hotel units on the second floor. The efficient design gives the building a unifying, modern presence and creates a commercial building with two tenants, instead of a hodge-podge of 14 small retail and residential spaces in the previous iteration.

The building was originally constructed as a saloon in 1892 and had been substantially renovated several times over the years. It was damaged by a fire and new owners were looking to cost-effectively rehabilitate the boarded-up property.

To help open the retail space and create a stronger street presence, the new design raises the storefront to the original header height, a nod to an era when natural light was paramount at ground level. The look opens the spaces to the light and maximizes the connection to the sidewalk and the surrounding neighborhood.

On the second floor, the circulation was reorganized, and the layouts changed to create modern, efficient hotel rooms. The interiors were redesigned with new bathrooms and kitchens. The focus was on creating fresh and clean spaces that are naturally lit and offer a sense of security. The hotel is designed to operate with a digital entry and no onsite staff.

The renovation included completely new electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, but minimal structural interventions. Natural ventilation, a focus on daylight and minimal material usage all contribute to reducing the building’s environmental impact and operational costs.

The final result is a clean, efficient design that turned a neighborhood eye-sore into a simple, clean, efficient mixed-use project that exceeded the clients’ goals.

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