Assessing impact of downtown stadium on Gaslamp Quarter

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Backers of the proposal to build a new Chargers stadium and convention annex in the East village claim it will be a boost to the economy and those benefits may help restaurants and businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter.

One businesses closes, but another opens. Visitors to the Gaslamp Quarter are likely to see encouraging signs of growth and new construction, but they’re also going to notice storefront for rent signs.

Justin Earley is a real estate broker whose clients are bar and restaurant owners looking for downtown properties.

One site, occupied by Dick’s Last Resort, is vacant now, after more than 25 years in service. Earley said don’t read that as an indication of failing fortunes. He said if anything, the rising rents reflect an economy on the upswing and he’s excited about bringing a Chargers stadium to the East Village.

Higher rents have forced some smaller businesses to close and on one stretch of Fourth Avenue, there are signs "for lease" tacked on a number of buildings.

With soaring rents and increasing operating costs, it’s a tougher competitive environment, but people like Tracy Johnson are looking at the opportunities.

He’s the general manager of a new restaurant, "Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers," that’s set to open next week.

He’s also behind the idea of building a downtown stadium. Much like the impact of Petco Park on the East Village, Johnson said a football stadium will give the Gaslamp area a boost.

The association that represents Gaslamp businesses owners has seem them come and go and they haven’t taken a formal stand on the stadium.

For many on these streets, the mood is clearly one of optimism and a new Chargers stadium could become one more reason to cheer.

Categories: Local San Diego News