San Diego's Catherine Deneuve

When the first words you hear from an architect describing a project in the making are “This is a different cat,” you sense that you are about to be entertained. Such was my impression at a private preview of downtown’s Pacific Gate residential high-rise.

“This could have been a solid-profile building, as many buildings are that are functional,” said New York-based architect James von Klemperer of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates as he stood by a model of the building his firm is creating for Bosa Development.* “There’s something about tall buildings we remember in skylines; it’s always the ones that come to some sort of peak. They’re aspirational.”

The 41-story, 450-foot tower (scheduled for completion in September 2017) is “sculptural, but not a wacky form,” he continued. “It’s quiet. It’s Catherine Deneuve — poised and self-confident.”

When I asked him which of KPF’s multiple high-rises Pacific Gate would most resemble, the president of a firm with six offices around the world didn’t pause to reflect — perhaps because what popped immediately to mind is a current project: a 123-floor (1,800+ feet) combination of offices, hotel, retail and residences in Seoul. Pacific Gate, he said, would have “the same DNA.”

Set between Broadway and West E Street along North Harbor Drive, the building will be “kind of a gateway, an entry sign to the city of San Diego from the water,” James said. The elongated curvature of the “yin-and-yang” halves of the double-arc, oval design with a fin “captures the spirit of water and ocean movement.”

Opening with a public event on Sunday (noon-3 p.m.) and by appointment thereafter, the Pacific Gate sales gallery at 700 First Avenue includes a few room vignettes (with curved, printed downtown view windows) to give potential buyers a peek at the concepts created by Hirsch Bedner Associates, the Santa Monica-headquartered firm in charge of designing all interior spaces.

A display wall shows buyers’ three palette choices — labeled “shore,” “land” and “air,” though they are all within a neutral cream-to-tan range. Specified brands include Everpure (water filtration), Sub-Zero (refrigeration), Wolf (oven and cooktop), Miele (hood and dishwasher) and Graff (faucets and shower fixtures).

That’s all well and good, but I personally considered another perk a greater incentive: a private boat share. Nat was not certain the exact length of the boat (“But it’s sure not going to be a dingy,” he joked), then asked someone else and came back to report it would be in the 45- to 50-foot range. He added that it will have a professional crew.

There’s a more altruistic incentive that also caught my attention: For every unit sold, Bosa Development will make a contribution to World Housing to build a 64-home community in the Philippines to house 300 people living in slums in Manila.

Prices for the 215 units at Pacific Gate start at $1.4 million. Up to floor 32, there will be six units per floor. Upwards of that, there will be four units per floor until you reach the penthouse.

When I asked Nat the price for the penthouse, he replied that it was “spoken for,” but indicated it was a $15 million condo. Pressed further, he revealed that he personally would take possession of the tower’s topmost residence (6,000 square feet with a 3,000-square-foot balcony on which he plans to install a garden).

“It’s going to be so unique,” he said. “There are a lot of people that have the money. If I wanted to sell it, I would get $20 million for it. But it’s not for sale.”

I’m not one of those people to which he refers. I’m not even one of those people who have a lower-floor unit in my budget. However, I could be one of those people crewing the private-share boat. I’m pretty good at carrying around a tray of drinks.


*To read an interview with Nat Bosa, check out the March issue of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Flowerly Forecast

“April showers bring May flowers” sounds logical, but it’s just a saying — nothing on which to hang your hat (or umbrella). So we are not worried about a lack of significant rain in San Diego over the 30 days separating March and May. We know for a fact that Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar will be “inBloom” from May 6 through May 28.

The Sipping Point

I am not a saver. I consistently “trash” emails, erase voicemails, purge files, toss papers and otherwise maintain a tidy environment. But I did keep the two-sided menu card from San Diego County Vintners Association’s 2013 Wine & Food Festival. At that time, the association had 39 members; it now has 63 — stretching as far north as Rainbow and as far south as Otay Mesa.

Reflections on the Landscape

Mirror, mirror on the … wall, ceiling, roof, post. Artists in a new biennial exhibition have used silver glass to let us experience our natural surroundings — and truly see them — in new contexts.

Hippity Hop Pop

You can expect that St. Patrick’s Day revelers — wearing glittered-cardboard leprechaun hats with shamrocks, drinking green beer and singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” — will fill the sidewalks and bars of downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter this Friday evening. I will be in the Gaslamp neighborhood myself; but I’ll be enjoying the unexpected: standing amid brightly colored and larger-than-life rabbits.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

From Our Sponsors

Looking Up

Four kitchen designs tap into the ceiling
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Strangers in the Night
  2. Little by Little
  3. ¡Vaya!
    Spain, Morocco and Mexico unite in a home brimming with artisan touches
  4. Play Time
  5. A Fresh Approach
    A Del Mar homeowner overhauls interior and exterior spaces to achieve the right feel
Edit Module