“New Town” now known as Downtown San Diego was established in 1850 at the edge of San Diego Bay. This was a few miles south of “Old Town”, the original settlement of San Diego, located just below the old fort at the Presidio. City leaders Andrew Gray and William Heath Davis led efforts to develop New Town, taking advantage of one of the world’s best natural harbors for shipping and trade. A pier and a warehouse were constructed, an army post was established and a few residences were built.  Alonzo Horton was also instrumental in the creation of New Town with his building of a wharf along the waterfront . He also bought , sold and developed property around the New Town area. By the 1880s New Town had surpassed Old Town and had taken over as the center of activity in San Diego.

A History of Downtown


Over the next few decades, major technological advances changed San Diego. By the early 1900s, the railroad had come to San Diego, stopping at Santa Fe Depot. Electric street lights, a streetcar system and a new wharf at the Broadway Pier were established. The United States Navy and the Marines opened numerous bases for basic training and housing the Pacific Fleet.


After WWII, Downtown started to fade and many families left for the suburbs. Between the 1960s and the late 1970s Downtown had decayed. It was a destination for sailors on leave, with bars and strip clubs, bums and winos. It was not a place to stroll in the evening. San Diego’s urban resurgence started in the 1980s with the establishment by Ernie Hahn of the urban mall, Horton Plaza. That, along with the building of the Convention Center, the revitalization of the Gaslamp Quarter, the erection of new hotels, new waterfront marinas and the development of Seaport Village transformed Downtown into the vibrant, thriving urban core that it is today.


There are now numerous beautiful residential high-rise towers, Petco Park, the home of the baseball Padres, our new architecturally striking Central Library, the retired U.S. Naval aircraft carrier, the USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal all of which are just minutes away from San Diego’s airport, Lindbergh Field.


There are several neighborhoods/districts that comprise Downtown. These are the Columbia, Little Italy, Cortez Hill, Marina, Gaslamp, East Village and Core Districts. Each have their own unique feel and character. There are over 10,000 residential properties in these neighborhoods, so there are many choices when looking for the perfect home, or condominium that fits your personality and lifestyle.

Give Me a Call or Drop Me a Line

Please feel free to contact me with questions about selling your home, or buying a new one.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you! 

Brad Herrin-Realtor Associate

888 W. Ash Street
San Diego, CA 92101

DRE #00918363

Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.

Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed.

Pacific Sotheby's International Realty

888 W. Ash Street, San Diego, CA 92101
DRE #01767484

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