This is Progress?

I am not obsessed with the construction site at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana Street, despite the number of recent photos and commentaries about it: Cave’s Grave; Wonder Wall; Shattered Serenity; Postal Convenience Center. My interest is what the project represents to San Diego neighborhoods Hillcrest, North Park, and University Heights, where relaxation of zoning rules is bringing down charming businesses and homes and replacing them with high-rises that are way out of character with the area.

The Featured Image, taken on May 7, 2022 using Leica Q2, captures before, during, and after multi-unit construction. Foreground looks across the aforementioned recent demolition to a four-story residential complex at Mississippi, overlooking the recently relocated Red Fox Steak House.

Straight back left-of-center is a building in progress; I count eight stories, but there could be more. This is what that site looked like in late-April 2021 and here before the demolition leveled three single-story buildings to make space for the behemoth. Click the links and gasp.

For anyone local, looking for more orientation: Lafayette Hotel is far left. The new structure is across Mississippi from the iconic and popular lodge. The two are architecturally mismatched, which is an increasingly common phenomenon as high-rise boxy builds of concrete straight lines smack against one-story structures that are more rectangular and adorned with various shapes, like curves and triangles.

If Nextdoor is any measure, many homeowners and renters complain about the new buildings for, if nothing else, how they will affect parking. Location nearby public transportation (usually a bus route) exempts contractors from providing residential parking. Pack more people into the same neighborhood, and they have to keep their cars somewhere. Meanwhile, parking spaces vanish as the city adds more bike routes.

Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 10:08 a.m. PDT.