1 Bread & Salt: The building at 1955 Julian Ave. in Logan Heights is bar-none the space for art to watch in the coming year. Public Architecture and Planning bought the 40,000-square-foot former Weber Bakery 10 months ago with plans to turn it into a community-focused center for the arts, says Public's James Brown. He says they're keeping the original structure intact—parts of which were built in the early 1900s—for the art center that former Ice Gallery tenants will call their new home. Their first show is happening sometime in February; check Bread & Salt on Facebook for updates. In two years, the empty lot on the property will house 19 live-work units for artists and craftsmen, Brown says.
—Amy T. Granite
2 City Heights skate park: Like many parts of town, the Cherokee Point neighborhood suffers from a park-space deficit. With the ridiculous catchphrase "Skate se puede!" ("Skate we can!"), newly elected Mayor Bob Filner promised kids at the Mid-City CAN Youth Council that he would deliver a skate park to help fill City Heights' 100-acre shortfall, despite the city's overall budget crunch. Speak City Heights reported three potential locations: a mini-park on Central Avenue, a dirt lot in Park De La Cruz and the Copley Family YMCA. A concrete skate park costs between $24 and $35 per square foot, according to the Skate Park Association of the United States of America.
3 Modern Times Brewery: We're happy that Modern Times has found a home out in the Sports Arena area (3725 Greenwood St.); the massive warehouse seems like an excellent destination and alternative to the North Park / Uptown-centric tasting rooms that are popping up all over. But what really excites us is how owner / founder Jacob McKean has applied the best aspects of social-media and Internet ethos to the world of craft beer. Over at Modern Times' blog, McKean is chronicling every aspect of starting a brewery, from raising the $1.25-million start-up budget to finding the location; he even promises to make the beer ingredients public once he settles on them. Journalists are drunks anyway, but this kind of transparency makes us foam at the mouth, in a good way.
4 Structural and Materials Engineering Building at UCSD: Opened last September, this new academic facility's name is as plain as it is deceptive. Yes, cutting-edge engineering will occur within SME's walls—aerospace engineering, robotics engineering, nano-engineering, engineering in medicine—but the building is better described as 183,000 square feet of pure, multidisciplinary-genius space. It's no accident that visual-arts and cultural think shops are also housed on site, including the Center for Design and Geopolitics, the Center for Urban Ecologies and the new Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. The theory is that when scientists work in close proximity to other creative disciplines, the resulting intellectual osmosis will lead to new reality-quaking discoveries.
5 Queensland Public House: From the Kiwi-leaning minds of Bare Back Grill and Raglan Public House comes this New Zealand-inspired neighborhood restaurant in Little Italy. Quirky designer Michael Soriano, who's behind the restaurant group's Ocean Beach pub, Raglan, is at it again with this renovation of a historic home on Columbia Street. Owner Matt Baker says that Soriano is keeping the bells and whistles of the place under wraps, but we do know it'll be a laid-back spot with front and wrap-around patios, a vegetable and herb garden out back and a bar inside where the home's staircase once was. The menu will be locally sourced but inspired by New Zealand fare with meat pies and rack of lamb, along with vegetarian and vegan items, local beers and regional wines.
—Amy T. Granite
6 City Hall: If you're worried that our local leaders will build a new municipal Taj Mahal, fear not. In 2010, a proposal to build a new city headquarters was removed from the November ballot out of fear that it would doom a sales-tax-increase measure, which ended up failing anyway. Well, now there's an infrastructure bond measure in the works, and city officials will make that the top priority (it won't include funding for a new City Hall). What's more, this year, the city will begin renegotiating scads of leases on properties where various departments are housed, and if it can forge better deals, they'll damage the argument than building a new City Hall makes long-term financial sense. In the meantime, taxpayers will continue to pour money into the current building's failing systems.
7 Fourth Floor of 202 C St.: Speaking of City Hall, not long ago, the building's fourth floor was bustling with land-use nerds. Now, as Voice of San Diego and U-T San Diego reported, what was the city's standalone Planning Department is a cubicle ghost town. Under Mayor Jerry Sanders, planning was merged with the Development Services Department, but his replacement, Bob Filner, plans to rethink the whole concept of urban planning. The new division could go on the fourth floor, but at the very least, Filner says city employees currently in offsite rented space should move in to the empty desks.
8 Mike Hess Brewing: For years, a Christian bookstore sat next to the parking lot behind CityBeat, exuding a certain aura of righteousness. This spring, we're hoping for the sweet smell of craft ale as Mike Hess Brewing moves into the vacated 12,500-square-foot space. We've been closely admiring the construction of Hess's oversized, 30-barrel brewhouse and 3,000-square-foot tasting room (made possible through legislation pushed last year by Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher). Slated to open in February or March, the brewery will put out a maximum 15,000 barrels a year. Its success is also a political concern, since Hess is benefitting from $250,000 in microloans from the city.
9 Petco Park outfield: From 2006 to 2009, the San Diego Padres ranked last in the majors in runs scored at home. But direct your eyes toward Petco Park's outfield in 2013. The new owners have decided to more closely align Petco with average national ball park dimensions by moving in the fences, in some spots by as much as 12 feet. More home runs mean more excitement. It's like when U.S. soccer leagues sought to make their sport more appealing to North Americans by moving it indoors. We don't like games that end in a score of 1-0. And baseball's slow pace doesn't move 21st-century Americans, with their shorter attention spans, the way football and basketball do. Whether higher-scoring games will help increase attendance remains to be seen.
10 You Are Here: In 2011, former CityBeat arts editor Kinsee Morlan bet her firstborn child that Foundation for Form's Mike Burnett and Craig Abenilla would have more awards in their future—the duo's mxd 830 project, in Golden Hill, won a San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid in 2009 and, in 2011, the Urban Land Institute's mixed-use award. Their current project, slated for completion next month and located on 25th Street across from mxd 830, includes 22 apartment units and incorporates the Texaco station that once occupied the site—the station's service bays will be turned into arts and retail spaces. Like with mxd 830's Counterpoint, a bar and restaurant will anchor the project. As for Morlan, she had her first kid, Harper, on Dec. 26. The bet's on.
11 Space 4 Art: The mega-gallery / studios / living spaces known as Space 4 Art was home to some of the most innovative exhibits and performances we saw last year, but what's most impressive is the space's nimble ability to do a lot with a little. In 2012, volunteers built classrooms on the site's massive lot to accommodate arts-outreach programs that serve needy communities like homeless youth from St. Vincent de Paul. The space also raised more than $8,000 via Kickstarter to pay exhibited and visiting artists (other San Diego museums should take note).
— Ryan Bradford
12 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: The nuclear power station at the very top of North County has been offline for nearly a year due to safety concerns with the plant's steam generators. Anti-nuke activists would like to see the facility decommissioned, while Southern California Edison has launched a propaganda campaign to win over public support. The U.S. Nuclear Regulation Commission says the decision to allow San Onofre to restart could come within a few months. In the meantime, nuke-watchers can expect more publicity, more protests and more documents full of highly technical safety details.
13 BNS Brewing and Distilling: After everybody hopped aboard the craft-cocktail train in 2012, it seems impossible that mixologists can come up with anything new. That's why BNS in Santee might shake things up with its plan to distill moonshine. Owner Wes Richey submitted his license for distilling and is awaiting approval from the state to start making beers and spirits. The moonshine, however, has the potential to change the cocktail landscape. He'll make two different styles: clear, 80- to 90-proof moonshine and liqueur-style moonshines in flavors like apple pie and coconut. BNS hopes to begin distilling in February and later open a tasting room.
14 Corner of 30th and Beech: South Park has recently become one of the hippest 'hoods in San Diego, and while much of the attention is focused around Juniper Street, the intersection of Beech and 30th streets, anchored by Alchemy restaurant, is quietly surging. In the past couple of months, Ginseng Yoga Studio opened the G Fit fitness center on the northwest corner and Goldline Salon moved in to the space that used to be Halcyon Tea just off the southeast corner. And now, next door to Goldline, comes Buona Forchetta, a new Italian restaurant with a huge, mosaic-covered, freestanding pizza oven and a craft-beer bar. And the hipsters rejoiced.
15 Corner of 30th and Upas: When word got out that the northeast corner of this bustling North Park intersection (housing Pat's Corner and Ice Gallery) would be demolished to make room for a 27-apartment-unit mixed-use complex, folks flipped. On Facebook, some of Pat's Corner's customers slammed the inevitable next wave of gentrification to wash the neighborhood of its old charm. But look on the bright side: Award-winning architect Jonathan Segal is behind the project, and his recent track record includes The Q building in Little Italy. It's home to four killer haunts: Underbelly, Bencotto, Monello and Influx.
—Amy T. Granite
16 Churchill Hotel: Since 2005, CityBeat's been following the story of the Churchill, a dilapidated former residential hotel located Downtown. That year, the owner ousted tenants, violating a city law designed to protect vulnerable people. Six years later, after a court battle, the San Diego Housing Commission got possession of the building, with the goal of rehabbing its 94 units to rent to folks who'd been homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. Last September, the commission rejected proposals from three developers, all of whom said that making the 100-year-old building habitable would cost more than the $19 million commission staff had estimated. The Housing Commission is "continuing to consider all of its options for the property," a spokesperson said.
17 ArcLight Cinemas: The recent opening of ArcLight at UTC is a big deal. It raises the bar for all the movie theaters in San Diego by providing decent food (paninis!), reserved seating (Euro!) and even cocktails (civilized!), and tickets are priced significantly less than at Cinepolis, Del Mar's luxury theater. It also has the potential to cut into the box-office receipts of La Jolla Village Cinemas and AMC La Jolla, the latter of which is installing stadium seating and power recliners.
18 Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama: The fate of a billionaire's napkin-sketched dream makeover will head to court in 2013. Yes, it seems certain that Balboa Park will continue to garner headlines this year, much as it did last year when decades of talk turned to action with the San Diego City Council's blessing of the controversial $45.3-million Plaza de Panama project in July. The local preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation sued the city over that decision, and a Feb. 1 Superior Court showdown awaits.
—John R. Lamb
19 4th & B: For mid-level touring acts that are too big for The Casbah and not big enough to fill Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, Downtown venue 4th & B has long been an ideal spot: Located in a former bank building, it fits 1,500 bodies and even has a VIP section. Unfortunately for these types of bands, 4th & B's owners recently canceled all upcoming shows and shut its doors due to a court battle with the building's landlord, and it's unclear when (or if) the venue will reopen. The results probably won't be catastrophic—House of Blues often books similar mid-sized acts—but with fewer places for them to play, some acts this size might skip San Diego on the next tour.