SoCal cruises along

Despite a harrowing earthquake in San Bernadino, the counties outside of LA are seeing resi prices largely hold steady while commercial development blooms
By Kavita Daswani | July 18, 2019 10:00AM

Chula Vista hotel and convention center

San Diego County

Developers were likely popping bottles in Chula Vista, which, after a two-decade-long approval process, approved plans for a $1.13 billion hotel and convention center in June. In what city officials described as a “momentous” development, the Port of San Diego authorized a Coastal Development Permit for the waterfront project in San Diego county’s second largest city. Currently slated for a 2022 opening, the hotel is anticipated to offer 1,450 rooms adjacent to a 275,000-square-foot convention center space. Gaylord Hotels, the convention center hotel brand of Marriott International, will manage the property. Houston-based RIDA Development is building the project.

The rubber-stamping of the Chula Vista project was good news for the county, which, after many months of a lull, saw a 2 percent uptick in median residential sales price — to $660,000 — in May, according to statistics compiled through the San Diego Multiple Listing Service by the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. Transactions were down year-over-year by 7.1 percent for single-family homes and down 7.6 percent for condos and townhomes.

Renters in the area are about to get some much-needed housing options, with 4,500 apartments expected to come online throughout the county this year. CoStar is building a 77-unit development in Harborview, which is slated for a July opening. Also opening then is the 300-unit luxury rental project Palisade at Westfield UTC from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield in San Diego. Multifamily vacancy rates are at 4.4 percent throughout the county, according to a summer market report from Colliers International. “The increase in supply in the downtown San Diego and surrounding areas is in the process of being absorbed,” the report stated. In the city of San Diego, a one-bedroom is around $1,800 per month.

Ventura County

Simi Valley Town Center

Pockets of Ventura County will be home to significant upgrades soon, with innovative retail offerings and apartment projects set to revive local business districts.

The Mark, a food hall slated to open this fall in Old Town Camarillo, will offer 6,100 square feet of food retail space. It’s part of a project from Oxnard-based developer Aldersgate Home, which will also feature 23 resi units.

In Simi Valley, a 12.8-acre site that was once occupied by the headquarters for Farmers Insurance, is in the application process. Newport Beach-based Newport Equities, which acquired the site for $18.5 million earlier this year, plans to develop 164 for-sale units, plus 6,000 square feet of commercial retail space and several thousand additional square feet for fast-food options. The 240,000-square-foot building has been empty since 2012. 

Also in Simi Valley, the 13-acre Simi Valley Town Center is under the new ownership of international investment firm Bayside Capital, which has plans to redevelop the mall, according to the VC Star. The firm has yet to announce specifics on the project.

On the residential front, there was a 5.6 percent decrease in total home sales throughout the county — with 967 homes sold in May 2019 compared to 1,024 at the same time the previous year, according to figures from CoreLogic. The median sale price, at $590,000, remained consistent year-on-year, and that’s just marginally less than the $615,000 median sales price in Los Angeles County.

The Banc Hotel

Orange County

The priciest residential sale in the county so far this year closed before the home even hit the market: The 5,674-square-foot Laguna Beach residence at 188 Emerald Bay sold for $24.25 million in early May.

That sale was something of an anomaly in a local luxury market that has slowed down. Year-to-date, 73 homes sold in the O.C. for $5 million-plus, compared with 101 homes over the same period last year.

“Although there is still a lot of demand in the market, buyers are more price- sensitive than they have been in the past seven years,” said Douglas Elliman’s Andy Stavros. “They don’t see price appreciation on the horizon.” Stavros added that while the recent drop in interest rates “is tempting,” most buyers are not feeling the need to rush out and nab a property. Buyers, he said, “are being very patient,” which means that sellers need to think carefully about their pricing strategy and how to position their homes.

Overall, home prices in Orange County fell slightly in May 2019 compared to the same month a year before, landing at a median price of $720,500.

On the hospitality side, approvals were granted to the developers of the Banc Hotel, a mixed-use destination in Irvine. Designed by Architects Orange and developed by HJ Capital Group, the proposed 700,000-square-foot project will include a 258-room hotel, 143,721 square feet of office space and a 33,000-square-foot fitness facility, plus a spa, an open-air entertainment venue and a medical office building. Construction is expected to begin in early 2020.

Indio Towne Center

Inland Empire

In the Aftershocks of Early July’s terrifying quakes in Ridgecrest, locals are assessing the damage. Previous to that, Riverside and San Bernadino counties had seen a slight dip in listings in May compared to a year ago, according to Mark Dowling, chief executive officer of the Inland Valleys Association of Realtors. The median sales price of a home was $402,000 in May, up 3.1 percent from the previous year. But new listings were down by 3.5 percent compared to May of 2018.

On the commercial front, Colliers International brokered a trio of lease deals totaling 1.4 million square feet of space; the largest will be a logistics hub for Burlington Distribution of California, which has leased an 800,444-square-foot facility in Redlands for a reported value of $32.5 million. E-commerce company Redial leased a 475,555-square-foot warehouse in Rialto for just over $16 million in a six-year deal.

A revamp is underway at the Indio Towne Center, a 560,000-square-foot retail sprawl that services the east end of the Coachella Valley. Santa Ana-based investment company Red Mountain Group acquired the center in July 2018. Parts of the mall were converted and expanded to include a 40,000-square-foot Burlington location and new ground-up buildings for Marshalls, ULTA Beauty and Five Below, scheduled for completion next February.


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