By Zach Millrood | Real Estate Update
Although our community is seeing consistent declines in commercial real estate vacancy rates, Mission Valley remains one of the healthiest office markets in the county.
This can be attributed in part to the stability of the region. The tenant mix in Mission Valley consists of primarily low-volatility organizations such as business services, real estate, government entities, education, medical systems and government contractors.
Perhaps due to this stability and lack of innovative development, Mission Valley has been neglected for decades. There hasn’t been much excitement generated here in the past 15 years. However, several plans are set to change that, with the potential to positively impact the market for decades to come.
Here is a look at some of the significant projects that are either underway or currently on the drawing board.
The former home of The San Diego Union-Tribune is the planned site of AMP&RSAND, a modern, 330,000-square-foot campus stocked with amenities. The two 165,000-square-foot buildings on site include a repositioned five-story office tower (where reporters used to work) and an adjacent three-story building which formerly housed a printing press. A new interior design for the buildings will have an industrial loft feel, including exposed brick, concrete pillars, high ceilings and oversized windows.
There are also plans for a 64,000-square-foot outdoor gathering space, an amphitheater for group functions and a central meeting area set under a large ficus tree planted by former U-T owner Helen Copley. Amenities will include a fitness studio with spa-quality locker rooms, concierge services, a café and a bike center.
Former Qualcomm Stadium site
There are dueling proposals regarding what to do with the site of the former Qualcomm Stadium (now called the San Diego County Credit Union Stadium) on Friars Road. The proposal for “SoccerCity,” a 168-acre site by FS Investors, calls for 4,800 residential units, 3.1 million square feet of office and retail space, 350 hotel rooms, 55 acres of green space and a 22,000-square-foot stadium built for a professional soccer team.
It’s likely that voters will decide in 2018 on how this site will be developed. Backers of a competing plan, “SDSU West,” want to expand San Diego State University’s campus to the location with a mixed-used development that includes facilities for SDSU administrative buildings, classrooms and student housing; commercial, technology and office space; a river park with walking and biking paths or trails; retail space; hotels; and a football stadium large enough for SDSU’s football team, which could accommodate a professional football or soccer team. (For more information about the “SDSU West” plan, see our article on Page 2.)
This 230-acre, mixed-use, master-planned community is already flush with 4,780 units of residences and 60-plus acres of parks and open space. Still to come is a 480,000-square-foot retail center and 420,000 square feet of office campus.
Riverwalk Golf Course
If plans fall into place, by 2023 the 27-hole golf course will be replaced by a $2 billion Riverwalk project with a master-planned community of housing, offices, retail shopping and parkland. Currently, Riverwalk is still awaiting San Diego City Council approval.
Riverwalk could include 4,000 housing units in mid-rise buildings, 1 million square feet of office development on 20 acres located at the southeast corner of the site and 80 acres of a park with trails and recreational spaces. Some configuration of 18 holes of golf would also be revitalized. Additionally, a new trolley stop is envisioned for east of Via Las Cumbres.
Mid-Coast Trolley Extension
Speaking of trolley news, the Metropolitan Transit System is well underway on the Mid-Coast Trolley Extension that will add new tracks starting in Old Town and heading north to University City.
Service is scheduled to begin in 2021. For the first time, the business and educational communities of Mission Valley, Downtown and University Town Center will be linked via usable public transportation.
The old fable notes that slow and steady wins the race. While Mission Valley has been a steady player for some time, the market is currently on its toes and poised to race forward with a number of exciting possibilities.
—Zach Millrood is a senior vice president at real estate firm Hughes Marino, where he passionately dedicates himself to protecting his clients’ interests. Contact him at email@example.com or linkedin.com/in/zachmillrood. For more information, visit hughesmarino.com/san-diego.