COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | ALAN NEVIN

Mission Valley — the next big wave

Over the past few weeks, I have been clipping articles about Mission Valley and its development activities. The many new projects in the works could rival downtown San Diego’s. Obviously, not all these projects will come online simultaneously, but it is interesting to watch the projects as they unfold.

Civita, by the Sudberry and Grant families, is certainly the most notable of the active projects. Eventually, the project will have 5,000 residential units and almost 1 million square feet of commercial space.

Civita is setting the pace with its outstanding contemporary architecture, which started with its Circa 37, a 300-unit rental project designed by MVE Architects. The most prominent for-sale projects are by Shea and they have all been of exceptionally high-quality design.

The most prominent of the recently announced projects is Doug Manchester’s mixed-use project on the current site of the Union-Tribune building. That site has been designed by AVRP Architecture for a 200-unit 22-story multifamily high-rise tower and 10-story 230,000-square-foot office tower. The project will include a walking path and greenery along the San Diego Riverfront.

And right down the street from the U-T, the massive Town and Country Hotel will undergo a major renovation. Lowe Enterprises will join forces with Atlas Hotels (its original developer) to create an entirely new environment on the 40-acre site.

The Town and Country has 950 hotel rooms and 200,000 square feet of meeting space, but it is dog tired and ready for some fresh blood. Lowe has initial concepts that include new hotel space and possibly multifamily housing. The good news is that Lowe and its financial partner AECOM have the wherewithal to do the job right.

Across the golf course from Town and Country, the Cushman family is in a venture with Related Companies to develop a million-plus square feet of residential and commercial properties. Some “re-entitling” must occur before proceeding. The original plan was completed in 1985.

At some point, Oliver-McMillan’s Hazard Center will move forward with two high-rise towers, totaling almost 500 units. The center has already made major strides in upgrading cosmetics and has opened a BJ’s Pizza emporium.

Another project that will be interesting to watch is Morris Cerullo’s 18-acre Mission Valley Resort, which will reportedly be the world headquarters and international training center for the Cerullo religious empire.

Two individual projects that should move forward soon are a new Marriott Residence Inn on the site of the former El Torito and The Dinerstein 291-unit apartment project at the northwest corner of state Route 163 and Interstate 8.

And finally, the really big puzzle: Qualcomm. About a decade ago, I was engaged by the Spanos family to determine the economic viability of the redevelopment of that site.

The long and the short of it was that the site worked beautifully with a new Qualcomm stadium (razing the old one); building a 5,000 space multistory garage, 6,000 residential units and assorted commercial space. The plan worked swimmingly well, but like most big projects in San Diego, it may take two or three more decades to materialize.

The key element for all this development is the necessity to reconfigure the Interstate 15 and Friars Road, and state Route 163 and Friars Road interchanges, along with the extension of Hazard Center Drive.

There are 20,000 people living in 12,000 housing units in Mission Valley. If all of these projects move forward, the population and number of housing units in Mission Valley will double.

And it will happen. It’s just a matter of time and money. As usual. It is interesting to note that the Empire State Building was completed in 14 months.


Nevin is a team leader in market research and forensic services at Xpera Group, the West Coast’s largest source of experts in construction and real estate. He can be reached at anevin@xperagroup.com

View all comments
User Response
1 UserComments
Jeffrey Davis 6:59pm September 9, 2014

"The key element for all this development is the necessity to reconfigure the 15-Friars and 163-Friars interchanges." I hope the answer isn't the common-wisdom 'more lanes', 'higher speeds'. As noted, MV is approaching downtown-like levels of development. Trying to maintain exurban traffic speeds in a downtown is a recipe for disaster, in fact explains a lot of MV's current problems. Try going the 1/2 mile from Hazard Center to Mission Valley, for example. To accommodate all this growth, MV is going to need much more creative thinking about mobility, auto mobility included. More lanes, more speed is doomed to fail and further balkanize the area. The current proposal for the 163-Friars interchange doesn't give me much hope.