ULI Honors Centro, Tijuana with an Emerging Healthy Place Award

Kimberly Heaton

The ULI San Diego-Tijuana District Council hosted the 2nd Annual Healthy Places Awards ceremony on May 18, 2017.  The awards are given in recognition of outstanding projects, healthy programs, and policies that embody ULI’s Healthy Places Initiative.  This year Centro, Tijuana -- the historic downtown area -- was selected to receive the Emerging Healthy Place Award.  The award was presented to Tijuana Mayor Juan Manual Gastelum by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

 The Centro neighborhood, "Zona Centro", is home to the Avenida Revolución thoroughfare, the heart of historic Tijuana.  The former tourist hot spot had become run down with many shops and restaurants standing vacant, and with few residents or tourists visiting the area, it was described as a ghost town.  In 2013, ULI's San Diego-Tijuana District Council was invited by the Consejo de Desarrollo Económico de Tijuana (the Economic Development Council of Tijuana, or CDT) to undertake a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) on the best way to revitalize Zona Centro.  KMA Managing Principal Paul C. Marra was a member of this ULI panel of experts who helped produce a Revitalization Concept Plan.  The Revitalization Concept Plan presents a strategy to create a walkable core that includes a mix of land uses and activities to promote a self-sustaining community with varied opportunities to live, work, and play.  Since then, several key projects that were recommended by the TAP have been implemented, including high-density housing, a boutique hotel, and a multitude of exciting dining and nightlife options.  The new projects are proving to be successful catalysts for revitalization of the entire 55-block district.  Zona Centro has made tremendous strides in attracting private investment and improving public infrastructure, while simultaneously embracing the arts, culture, and food as economic development tools.  KMA extends its congratulations to Tijuana on the remarkable transformation of Zona Centro.