Downtown's Columbia neighborhood encompasses the area between the waterfront and Union Ash, and F streets. Broadway, downtown's main street, begins at the Broadway Pier and runs through the center of this district. Though largely a commercial neighborhood, Columbia is the site of healthy development of all kinds. Over 2,,500 residential units and millions of commercial office space and hundreds of parking spaces. Columbia is also home to the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Federal and County courthouses, and the State Office Building.
This region was formed from the bordering portions of two former districts: one zoned for commercial use, and the other for recreation. Previously, the Core, Columbia and Horton Plaza districts all comprised the Central Core district, whose plan emphasized the "highest level intensity governmental, commercial, office and residential development," according to the 1992 Center City Community Plan. Over a decade later, this vision holds true in Columbia.
The waterfront in this neighborhood is a significant portion of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, which includes development of, and along a 100-foot wide boardwalk to provide entertainment, dining, shopping, and increased access to the natural beauty of the area. More than $50 million is designated for public amenities in the project, meant to facilitate enjoyment of the natural environment, rather than to substitute a commercial one. The "water first" strategy is fundamental to the Visionary Plan, which also includes restructured piers and new activity centers.
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