SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – From retail ghost town, to a bustling workplace – a real estate firm is hoping to transform Horton Plaza into a modern office campus.

Westfield Horton Plaza opened to critical acclaim in 1985, The bustling mall paved way to revitalizing downtown San Diego, but over the years, it has slipped as stores closed and anchor tenants picked up stakes. Currently, more than half the storefronts are empty and Westfield faces a lawsuit from Jimbo’s Naturally after the grocery store said it failed to fulfill promised repairs.

Stockdale Capital Partners is now poised to take over the plaza and will turn the six-and-a-half block wide property into a mixed used development. “Being able to re-purpose a place like Horton Plaza in a way that works for where downtown San Diego is now and going as opposed to where it was 20 years ago is what many people are hoping to see and strive for,” said Mark Cafferty. 

Mark Cafferty is president and CEO of the Regional Economic Development Corporation. He saw some of Stockdale’s renderings that call to transform former anchor stores into tech-targeting office and living space.

“You have a need for more office space downtown San Diego and Horton Plaza isn't set up for office space, but it could be. You have more people wanting to live downtown than 25 years ago. Being able to live close to Horton Plaza as they become different amenities continues to be important to people as they think of the overall experience in an urban core.”

The renderings supposedly show an opened area – allowing pedestrians to flow freely though the space – linking the Gaslamp to downtown and the marina.

The sale has yet to be finalized. Earlier this week, the office of Independent Budget Analysts recommended making changes in the event of a sale. The city and Horton Plaza signed an agreement in 2011 to renovate and manage the park outside the mall.