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Low vacancy rates, high demand push retail projects' leasing up

Retail tenants expanding in San Diego County are focusing their expansion efforts on the very few new retail projects that will be developed in San Diego County over the next several months.

For example, in Alpine, the long underserved community can now look forward to the proposed Albertson?s/Sav-On anchored Alpine Village Center breaking ground next year at the southeast corner of Alpine Boulevard and South Grade Road. The project is a development of Grant Tucker Properties and the leasing is being handled by Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate.

Alpine residents presently have to drive approximately eight miles west to the nearest major chain grocery store located at the Interstate 8 Freeway and Los Coches Road in Lakeside. This project may open as early as late 2005 and in addition to the proposed Albertson?s/Sav-On store, the project will include approximately 9,500 square feet of shops and approximately 3,285 square foot building pad with a drive through building that can accommodate either a restaurant or a financial institution. The high-profile, freeway visible location should also allow the site to serve the communities to the east of Alpine, including Descanso and Pine Valley.

In central San Diego, a new project is commencing at the southwest corner of Linda Vista Road and Napa Street in the west Mission Valley area. Located at a trolley stop, this attractive mixed-use project will include approximately 162 apartments, and 22 residential lofts located above approximately 19,000 square feet of high-profile street front retail space.

The retailers in this project will have excellent exposure to the approximately 34,000 cars per day at this high-traffic signalized intersection. The retailers will serve an extensive trade area including the luxury apartments in west Mission Valley, the students, faculty and staff of the prestigious University of San Diego, the community of Linda Vista and the Trolley ridership. The project is a development of CityLink Investment Corporation and the leasing is being handled by Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate.

A new proposed 131,000 square foot Vons anchored shopping center has recently broken ground at the southeast corner of Carmel Mountain Road and East Ocean Air Drive in Torrey Hills, an affluent community located just north of the Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 Freeway merge. The residents of this new master planned community have to drive outside the community to shop at existing grocery stores located to the north in Carmel Valley or in the Del Mar Heights area.

This attractive California craftsman-style project was designed by Smith Consulting Architects and will include a large plaza area for outdoor dining, a beautiful water fountain and a clock tower. In addition to Vons, Union Bank and Wells Fargo Bank branches, the project will offer a variety of services as well as dining options.

The project will also include a very attractive two-story neighborhood family medical center. In addition to serving the surrounding affluent community, the site also conveniently serves a tremendous daytime population in Del Mar Heights, Sorrento Valley, and Sorrento Mesa. The project is being developed by Sorrento Hills Marketplace, LP and is being leased by Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate.

On the retail tenant expansion front, the quick-service restaurants have been extremely active. Tenants including Daphne?s Greek Caf?, Panda Express, Pick Up Stix, Starbucks Coffee, It?s A Grind and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf have been aggressively competing for sites particularly in areas that can offer a high daytime population and stable residential population with good disposable income.

In San Diego, just a few new retail projects are being approved as population growth has fueled an increase in demand from the retail tenants. The time (measured in years, not months in San Diego County) to entitle new retail projects has ensured that well-located new retail space will be in short supply for years to come.

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