Apartments to Rise on Site of Failed San Diego Condo Development

San Diego–Alliance Residential Co. has acquired a 1.3-acre development site in the Little Italy district of downtown San Diego and is planning 201 apartment units for it. The property will be five stories atop three levels of parking, and the design will also incorporate six brownstone-style units along the residential street frontage on Fir Street. Construction is slated to begin later this year.

The development will feature studio, one- and two-bedroom units, available with dens or lofts. Unit amenities will include wood-plank style flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, full-sized stacked washers and dryers, oversized tubs, walk-in closets and private balconies.

Common amenities will include a residents’ club, business center, resort-style pool with spa courtyard overlooking San Diego Harbor, a fitness center, and digital gaming and screening room. Also, the streetscape will be improved with a piazza, offering water features, public art and café-style seating.

The site was originally entitled for a 247-unit high-rise condominium development, but the seller was unable to break ground due to a dearth of financing. Phoenix-based Alliance is capitalizing on the existing zoning—which allows for a high-density, mixed-use residential development—by building an apartment property with 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, branded under the Broadstone community name.

As in most markets nationwide, apartments are far more viable in San Diego than for-sale multifamily developments. In fact, the fundamentals for San Diego apartments are quite strong.

Investment specialist Marcus & Millichap predicts that by the end of 2011, San Diego apartment vacancies will be 3.4 percent, or 50 basis points below the long-term average. The company is also predicting that asking and effective rents will rise 3.9 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, during this year.

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