Sitting tight in SoCal

Home sales across the region are largely drying up, but a host of planned communities and several new commercial projects promise revitalization in urban centers

Oct.October 19, 2018 07:00 AM
A house in the Whitney at Bedford development

Riverside County

Home sales have cooled some-what across Riverside County — there were 6.7 percent fewer home sales in August 2018 compared with the same period last year, according to CoreLogic — largely due to a scarcity of options that people can realistically finance.

“Lack of affordable inventory is one of the main culprits of this summer’s slowdown,” said Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst. “Unlike the frenzied market of the mid-2000s, would-be homebuyers today don’t have access to the sort of risky subprime and other loans that fueled a lot of the home buying late in the last economic cycle.” 

But national homebuilders are putting some more inventory on the market. 

In the city of South Corona, a community called Bedford is being constructed by various developers. The 275-acre spread was once a lemon grove and will eventually hold more than 1,600 homes, with prices ranging from $300,000 to $600,000. Among the first units on the market are 41 residences from Aliso Viejo-based New Home Company in the Whitney neighborhood. Bedford also includes 10 acres of office, entertainment, retail and hotel space.

And in downtown Riverside, Imperial Hardware Lofts, which officially opened in August, offers renters a taste of L.A.-style amenities. The 91-unit property in the historic downtown area has a community lounge for residents and guests, a fitness center, a pool and a sixth-floor rooftop for cocktails. Rents start at $1,630. Also in the building is The Salted Pig, allegedly the Inland Empire’s first gastropub. The building was originally erected in 1900 and occupied by Imperial Hardware.

The [email protected]

Orange County

A sprawling new retail and residential development is underway in north OC.

In late September, Brookfield Residential broke ground on its latest development; with Frontier Real Estate Investments, the company is building a mixed-use development in Stanton. Located off Beach and Garden Grove boulevards, the project will transform 10 acres of former retail space into some 95,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, plus 208 for-sale residences on an additional 12 acres. The retail and restaurant venues will be under The [email protected] banner, to be developed by Newport Beach-based Frontier, while Brookfield Residential is overseeing construction of the gated community of [email protected] Designed by Orange County-based Robert Hidey Architects, the Brookfield project will be comprised of 208 homes ranging from 730 square feet to 1,843 square feet and priced between $400,000 and $600,000. Residents will have access to a public pool and outdoor event space, and a series of walkways will connect residents with The [email protected] The expected prices in the new residential development are significantly cheaper than O.C. overall, where the median selling price of a new construction home was $1.06 million as of early August, up 24 percent from the same period a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

Tru by Hilton San Bernardino Loma Linda

San Bernardino County

A new industrial project is  causing a stir in Bloomington.

A parcel of 17 acres of land in the middle of a residential part of the town was approved in September to be rezoned for commercial development — a move that has angered local residents. JM Realty’s 334,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, which will be built in the heart of the unincorporated community, was approved for construction. According to the San Bernardino Sun, the Slover Distribution Center will be less than 1,000 feet from the local high school and less than a mile from a middle school. Local residents are concerned about traffic and air pollution issues.

And just east of the 215 Freeway, Los Angeles-based ICO Real Estate Group was approved to purchase and develop 6.56 acres. Labeled as the 5th Street Gateway Project, the redevelopment will transform 27 parcels of existing commercial property into new commercial and residential space. In the past five years, ICO has been involved in the renovation, expansion and redevelopment of a number of San Bernardino office and retail spaces.

Also slated for the city of San Bernardino is a new boutique hotel, Tru by Hilton. The 98-room hotel will be called Hilton San Bernardino Loma Linda, and it’s one of 23 Tru brand hotels planned by the hospitality empire over the next couple of years. Another addition: In July, San Manuel Casino, in the city of Highland, broke ground on a $550 million expansion, which will add a 450-room hotel, 3,000-seat event center and other facilities.

The Campus at Horton

San Diego County

In downtown San Diego, an almost empty 10-acre mall is poised to be transformed.

As one of the largest redevelopment projects in downtown San Diego in years, The Campus at Horton begins construction early next year.

In September, Los Angeles-based Stockdale Capital Partners bought the property from Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for an undisclosed amount. Most of the tenants, including Nordstrom, have already left the site. Slated for completion in 2020, the project will transform the 1980s-era mall into about 1 million square feet of mixed-use commercial and retail space, with a park and public boardwalk designed to attract tenants in the tech and creative world.

Any added office space could be a boon to the area, considering that only two new office buildings have been constructed in downtown San Diego in two decades, according to Stockdale Capital Partners Managing Director Dan Michaels. Office rents throughout the county have remained stable in the second quarter of 2018, up only 1.9 percent from the same time the previous year, to a current average of $2.72 per square foot, according to independent commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews. Over in Silicon Valley, rates averaged $4.47 per square foot in Q2.

On the residential front, sales of previously owned single-family homes in August 2018 were down 18 percent from the previous August throughout San Diego County, according to the San Diego Association of Realtors. Experts credit rising home prices and mortgage loan rates for the drop.  

The priciest single family residence sold in the county in August was a 6,500-square-foot property in La Jolla, which went for $8.85 million. The median price on single-family homes in August was $670,000, up 2.5 percent from July.

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