SAN DIEGO — Driving down Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa, Asian culture is abundant — a hot spot for dining and dessert. Some call it the heart of San Diego’s nearly 450,000-member Asian and Pacific Islander community. But it wasn’t always like this.
“I don’t know that Asian Americans flocked to this hub initially as a plan necessarily within the city. When you look at the City of San Diego and how communities have formed, this was a place that probably was seen as being less desirable,” Councilmember Kent Lee told FOX 5.
Over the years, it’s clearly transformed, now officially designated as the Convoy Asian Cultural District. Last year, new freeway signs popped up along Interstate 805, marking the area’s significance.
“Over 350 Asian-owned businesses in this Convoy corridor alone, so there’s definitely more outside than that, but it’s one of the largest Pan-Asian hubs in Southern California,” said Lauren Garces with the Convoy District Partnership.
But the skyline will begin to look different in the next couple years when the city adds housing to the mix, a first for this cultural hub.
“Kearny Mesa updated its community plan back in 2020, which now allows for housing up and down Convoy Street, and that’s going to be one of the biggest factors moving forward in the next two decades,” Lee said.
Lee says to expect a more than 500-unit apartment complex to take over the old Dixieline Lumber right off of Raytheon Road and Convoy Street, making it an area that pretty much now has everything.
“It’s really going to create this atmosphere to, of course, eat, drink, play — but also live,” said Garces.
Just down the street from soon-to-be housing, you’ll find Woomiok – authentic Korean food owned by Cris Liang.
“We knew the demographic and we were part of the demographic and so this street really called for us and we felt really comfortable opening up businesses here,” said Liang.
In fact, business is so good that Liang has three restaurants along Convoy with his first opening in 2015.
So if one thing is for sure and picture-clear, this cultural district is thriving — with housing now blended in.
“It’s creating this new hub for budding entrepreneurs to be part of and in the future what we’re really excited about is finally people are going to be able to live in the neighborhood,” added Garces.
The groundbreaking for the new apartment complex is scheduled for May 25.