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Prime Tract Downtown : CCDC Says Nash Selling Land He Fought City Over

Times Staff Writer

Developer Terry Nash, who last year won a David versus Goliath battle for the right to put a six-story office building and restaurant on a prime parcel of downtown land, is apparently selling the land without having built a thing.

Nash is in the process of selling the land, which is between Horton Plaza and the Meridian condominium tower, to at least one buyer, Frank Raymond of La Jolla, according to the Centre City Development Corp.

The deal has been in the works since at least mid-March, but it is unclear whether it has been concluded, said Kathy Kalland, public information director for CCDC.

Nash and Raymond did not return phone calls to their offices Thursday and Friday.

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In July, Nash won the right to develop the parcel when the San Diego City Council reversed itself and agreed to let him put up the $6.3-million project, to be called Bristol Square, on a 10,000-square-foot site at Front and F streets.

In winning that approval, Nash, whose only previous downtown work was the redevelopment of the old Senator Hotel, bested two of the city’s most powerful developers--Ernest W. Hahn, who put up the $140-million Horton Plaza less than a block away from the site, and Walter Smyk, who developed the $71-million Meridian across the street from the proposed project. Both had suggested that Nash’s building was too small and inappropriate for what developers agreed was downtown’s premier remaining block.

The council at first agreed with Hahn and Smyk, refusing Nash permission to develop the parcel in an April vote. In June, the council moved to condemn Nash’s land and buy the site for $1.1 million.

Nash refused to give up after the April vote. He erected barricades and started excavating the site despite the council’s refusal to approve his project. The council never mustered the votes to condemn the land and, in July, Nash’s plan swept through the council by a unanimous vote.

Now Nash apparently wants out of the project. Mark Fehlman, architect for Raymond, said that a new plan for Bristol Square will be presented to CCDC next week. The proposed office building would stand seven stories tall, with 66,000 square feet of space. The bottom floor would house retail stores, Fehlman said.

Several council members said they were unconcerned by the sale.

“It’s privately financed and it’s privately owned, and that’s part of the private enterprise system,” Councilwoman Gloria McColl said through a spokesman.

“He’s entitled to do with his land as he sees fit,” said acting Mayor Ed Struiksma.

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A spokeswoman for Ernest W. Hahn Inc. declined comment. Smyk could not be reached for comment.


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