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February 9, 2017

Now Open: Bikeway Village Imperial Beach

Nate Vandermeulen


Over eight years since inception, Bikeway Village is now officially a member of the Built Projects Club.  What started as a pair of CMU boxes that served as an outpost and warehouse for San Diego Salt Works had more recently regressed to a clunky mix of dilapidated storage/ fabrication/ industrial spaces until the property was purchased by its current owner in December of 2008.  Studio E was approached at that time to guide the client in developing a concept that would eventually realize the potential for the site, located at the Southernmost end of San Diego Bay.  

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Graced with an abundance of wildlife- courtesy of the adjacent San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge-, a beautiful marine environment, views of the Coronado Bridge and downtown and direct proximity to the twenty-four mile Bayshore Bikeway, embracing the site was the driving factor in designing the exterior environs for this warm shell project.  With a huge hand from local landscape architects LandLab, a series of interconnected outdoor spaces were created to embrace both public use and future private/ event uses. A large cantilevered deck, expansive hardscaped patio areas and developed landscape zones stitch the buildings to the bay.  



A critical element of the building design was to attract attention from both vehicles passing by on nearby Palm Avenue and those cruising along the bike path.  A dramatic color scheme, pedestrian- scaled additions and large new openings in the exterior walls that coax daylight deep into the formerly dark warehouses recast the pair of buildings as a destination.  What had been barely worth a passing glance has become a beacon, both during daylight hours and when lit from within after the sun goes down.  Expansive storefront and sectional door openings march down nearly the full extents of three of both buildings’ elevations.  Monumental Alaskan Cedar trellis structures on two sides serve to break up the mass of the exterior walls and provide protection for those future patrons spending time in and circulating around the site. Corrugated metal awnings function to shield an exposed south elevation while giving a nod to the site’s industrial past. A dark grey stucco finish sets the buildings apart from their neighbors and affords the other materials and extra ‘pop’ off the exterior surface.  

Good things come to those who wait, and this building rehabilitation has definitely proven worthy of its extraordinarily long project lifespan.  Next up, an interesting and eclectic mix of tenants (and hopefully a cold beer on the terrace).

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