Urban Living Finds a Home in the Suburbs
By Beth Geraci
A new development has emerged in Chula Vista, bringing urban living to a suburban landscape. Millenia stands out as a completely walkable urban village breathing new life into South County. The mixed-use hub signals a shift toward increased density and more walkability in the San Diego suburbs as well as an example of the importance of building thoughtful communities.
Across the Millenia
Billed as a “pedestrian paradise,” Millenia covers 80 walkable city blocks in the heart of Chula Vista. With its tree-lined avenues, every residential unit in Millenia will be within a three-minute walk of a park. Millenia will ultimately be home to six small parks boasting unique features such as climbing walls, interactive fountains, a community garden, and of course, dog parks. OH! San Diego presents an opportunity for the public to experience Millenia by taking a self-guided tour through the OH! San Diego app, available March 5-12. Guests can stroll through small parks and gathering areas as they explore the urban village, which even includes its own Orchid Award-winning fire station.
A Design for the Times
Designing this new community presented the opportunity to build in elements of placemaking and set up public spaces to serve as future catalysts for connecting families and neighbors. “We’re envisioning a destination neighborhood filled with breweries, tasting rooms, boutique restaurants, wellness studios, a makers’ plaza for craftsmen and artisans, a potential shared office space and community-services as well as additional office space,” says Guy Asaro, president and CEO of Meridian Development, Millenia’s developer. The design brings buildings to the street and creates pedestrian-oriented pathways, including a pedestrian bridge, connecting residences with commercial, retail and recreation spaces.
The architecture of the buildings was also crucial to the development team at Meridian, and it’s a source of pride. Not only are the buildings beautiful, they engage people in very real ways, offering a framework upon which future generations can build memories. “So often we tend to get nostalgic about older neighborhoods and their charm,” Asaro says. “When people see Chula Vista, they can understand that we are creating the same environment today that they will be able to look back on in the future very nostalgically. And that’s worth celebrating.”
Asaro has long been impressed by the fact that OH! San Diego celebrates notable design and brings it to the forefront. This year, the program adds to the mix a keen focus on community. Meridian’s commitment to community and thoughtful design makes Millenia the ideal Chula Vista neighborhood sponsor for OH! San Diego. “It took an extraordinary amount of placemaking to create the Millenia project in a suburban context, surrounded by master plan communities,” says Asaro. “It’s unique in that regard.”
For Meridian and their partners, the work has paid off: the result is a destination neighborhood that melds design directly with the community it serves, creating not just housing but a lasting and unique home for both present and future generations. “I think Millenia demonstrates that you can be successful with these kind projects if you’re creative in how you go about it,” Asaro says. “The opportunity is to create a city center unlike any other in California, which we believe we’ve done.”
Interested in Sponsorship?
OH! San Diego sponsors have the opportunity to showcase their civic pride and connect with a diverse audience of residents and visitors. To learn more about sponsorship, download our Sponsor Guide or contact email@example.com.