Flower Hill celebrates renovation

Flower Hill celebrates renovation
Toasting the renovation of Flower Hill Promenade are, from left, San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, project manager Yehudi Gaffen, Jeffrey Essakow, president of center owner Protea Properties, San Diego City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner and Howard Schachat, Protea vice president. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

A Feb. 27 ribbon cutting ceremony, complete with city officials, oversized scissors and champagne, kicked off a five-day grand opening to celebrate the $30 million renovation of Flower Hill Promenade. 

Protea Properties purchased the 14-acre site, formerly known as the Flower Hill Mall, in 2002 with plans to upgrade.

The project underwent several redesigns since the first plans were presented more than a decade ago.

Nearby residents voiced concerns about traffic and the overall size of the proposed new buildings, prompting the formation of an opposition group known as Citizens Against Flower Hill’s Excessive Expansion.

“This is a great example of how business, local government and residents can work together for the benefit of the whole community,” San Diego City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said.

She said Jeffrey Essakow, president of Protea Properties, asked what people wanted “and actually listened” and then “went above and beyond” to renovate the aging center, which was built in 1977.

She said the anchor tenant, Whole Foods Market, is “something you all have been clamoring for.”

Lighnter also noted the new promenade has created more than 500 construction and retail jobs.

In addition to Whole Foods, which replaced a movie theater, Flower Hill includes more than 50 retail shops and restaurants, most of which are boutique businesses owned by area residents.

Essakow told tenants he appreciated their patience during construction.

“Thank you for staying the course, believing in us and seeing it through to the finish line,” he said.

Although most of the work is complete, the center courtyard is still undergoing construction and new tenants continue to move in.

Flower Hill is located on Via de la Valle, just east of Interstate 5.

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