SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's been more than a year since the City Council gave the green light to expand Horton Plaza Park. Work officially got underway downtown Thursday.
The $14.7 million expansion of the historic plaza began at 10:30 a.m. with a ceremonial boom.
The Centre City Development Corporation held a public meeting on plans for what's expected to be a world class urban plaza. The $8.5 million project includes the renovation of the historic portion of the park, as well as the demolition of a building to create a large space to accommodate a variety of events.
City officials and Westfield, the owner of the neighboring shopping center downtown, signaled heavy equipment operators to remove steel girders on the north side of the old Robinson's-May department store.
That will be the start of the 130,000-square-foot structure. In its place will be a new, 1.3-acre public gathering space that will include the existing park and extend south to the Balboa Theatre at Fourth Avenue and E Street.
The expansion project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2013. The Westfield Shopping Center is expected to hold 200 events per year at the new plaza.