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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Construction starts on Mission Valley's largest development

    Construction starts on Mission Valley's largest development

    [Grading has begun on the 230.5-acre Civita project in Mission Valley. (John Gibbins)

    DEC. 1, 2010 5 PM

    []Mining began at the Civita site about 1937.
    (Sudberry Properties)
    [The Civita land plan calls for more than 4,700 homes, nearly 1 million square feet of commercial development and several dozen acres in parkland and open space. Development is expected to continue for 12 to 15 years.
    (Sudberry Properties)

    [The Civita Civic Center is to include a plaza, amphitheater and museum on the history of Mission Valley. (Sudberry Properties)

    [Circa 37 is an apartment project by Sudberry Properties that is expected to be completed in about a year. The name refers to 1937, about the year mining began on the site. (Sudberry Properties)

    Grading has started on Civita, San Diego County’s first major master planned community since the real estate bust and, at 230.5 acres, the largest development of its kind in Mission Valley history.

    But unlike past large-scale projects in the valley, Civita promises a new direction toward the goal of creating San Diego as a “city of villages,” where walkability, livability and sustainability will dominate.

    The word that Civita’s developer, Sudberry Properties, uses is “blurb.”

    “ ‘Blurb’ is a blend between suburban and urban,” said Marco Sessa, Sudberry vice president.

    And looking at the land plan for the property, bounded by Mission Center Road, Friars Road, Interstate 805 and existing neighborhoods up the hill in Serra Mesa, Civita (rhymes with Evita) might live up to its invented name — a blend of Latin for “civic and community” and “vitality and life.” It was previously called Quarry Falls.

    The $2 billion development, announced in 2002 and approved by the San Diego City Council in October 2008, will have 4,780 housing units, up to 1 million square feet for commercial use, and 67 acres in parks and open space as construction proceeds over the next 12 to 15 years.

    Unlike much of the rest of Mission Valley, residents in Civita will eventually be able to walk to their own small commercial center, play in a public park that they will maintain through an assessment district and perhaps send their kids to a charter or private school.

    “It is very gratifying that after eight years of working on the property to see it go forward,” said Tom Sudberry, the company’s chairman.

    “Frankly, I’m happy we didn’t start on it 2 1/2 years ago, when the market began to go down. I’d much rather be in this trend line going in the right direction versus the other trend line where we were looking at a terrible, terrible market.”

    The first phase will comprise housing projects:

    • Sudberry will build Circa 37, a 306-unit apartment complex that will open in about a year. The 37 refers to 1937, about the time Franklin Grant began mining operations on the site. His descendants are partners with Sudberry and will share in the profits as development proceeds.

    “We have never wanted to put another isolated apartment complex or strip of shops on the land,” said Pat Grant, Franklin Grant’s grandson. “Our own ethics drive a desire to make it sustainable, walkable and desirable. Civita is the embodiment of the best ideas emanating from all the vision meetings we had with the experts who soon joined our team.”

    • Shea Homes will build the 73-unit Skyloft and 127-unit Social Garden at the west end of the property. The models of the for-sale town homes should open late next year with prices expected to start in the $400,000s.

    “Civita is one of the preeminent jewels in the San Diego real estate market,” said Paul Barnes, Shea’s San Diego division president. “It is a new urban environment being created in Mission Valley, and we’re extremely excited to be in the first phase. What we’re going to be building is very innovative and exciting new housing stock for San Diego.”

    Also coming in the first phase — to be completed over the next five years — will be 150 units of affordable housing and a retail-apartment building with 175 senior housing units.

    Real estate experts say it will be hard not to score a winner at Civita, at least in terms of home sales and apartment rentals.

    “Mission Valley to me is really the center of San Diego,” said Russ Valone, president of the MarketPointe Realty Advisors consulting firm.

    “People will be drawn there and attracted there, especially young households who want access to shopping and the trolley. Even move-downs will be attracted there.”

    As a sign of the valley’s attractiveness, MarketPointe found the third-quarter apartment vacancy rate at 3.4 percent, compared with 4.1 percent countywide.

    Ben Evers, an agent with Century 21-Award working in the valley for eight years, said new projects do well because of their modern design and up-to-date amenities. But he said developers have to be wary of the continued glut of foreclosed and distressed properties.

    “My guess is that the builder is just going to have to hold them a while,” Evers said. reported this week that the Mission Valley 92108 ZIP code had 324 homes for sale, ranging from a 2,102-square-foot unit in foreclosure for $704,494 to a 1,495-square-foot unit, also in foreclosure, for $40,283.

    But Sessa, the Sudberry vice president, said the valley has “weathered the storm” of the housing downturn better than many other neighborhoods.

    “It takes a little bit of insanity,” said Sudberry’s son Colton, company president, when asked why the company is moving now before economic conditions improve. “One way to make money as a developer is to live long enough. We’ve been at this 11 years and seen two cycles.”

    But with loans available for apartment development and Shea funding its first condos internally, the development team figures they’ll be ready by 2012, when many economists think San Diego housing will be on its way up.

    As MarketPointe’s Valone said, “If we haven’t started coming out of the recession (by 2012), we might as well give it up.”

    It was nearly 50 years ago, in 1961, that Mission Valley shopping center opened its doors — and the floodgates opened to hodgepodge development in the valley — formerly dominated by truck farms and dairies along the San Diego River — without a master plan for transportation, public services and open space. Ever since, planners, residents and enlightened developers have been trying to catch up and fix the problems that arose.

    Sudberry expects to spend about $150 million in on-site and off-site infrastructure improvements, starting with a $10 million down payment on traffic improvements: a sidewalk on the west side of Texas Street up to Normal Heights; new traffic signals at Murphy Canyon Road ramps to I-805; widening Friars Road east of Mission Center Road; and funds to continue planning for a $100 million reconfiguration of the state Route 163/Friars interchange.

    Still, valley critics fought the project from its earliest days, saying the valley’s problems should be fixed before major new development goes forward. Outgoing Councilwoman Donna Frye was the lone vote against the project. She praised its design — “I wish it was the first project in Mission Valley” — but today worries that it might include too many homes and that the added traffic can’t be mitigated with related public improvements.

    Also remaining in opposition is Lynn Mulholland, chairwoman of the Mission Valley Community Council.

    “When you drive down Friars Road or try to, there are expletives,” she said. “They (Sudberry) are doing their part — they are making it worse.”

    Bruce Warren, chairman of the Mission Valley Planning Group, which reviews valley projects, said traffic is as bad as it is because the city did not carry out certain road plans previously envisioned.

    “Now let’s see what sort of courage elected officials have,” he said, to insist on carrying out Civita’s promises, as well as previous ones.

    Bill Anderson, the city’s planning director, said Mission Valley bike paths and public transit use, as well as better roads, will help reduce congestion. Otherwise, he said Civita is carrying many of the goals envisioned in the “City of Villages” concept, adopted several years ago, to manage growth by making existing neighborhoods more walkable and environmentally sustainable even as new infill projects get built.

    “It’s showing at least someone has confidence in the market,” Anderson said. “We’re glad to see it get started and look forward to it.”

    As Tom Sudberry told the council two years ago, “I hope 15 years from now you look back on this vote and say you did the right thing.”

    Civita at a glance

    • Location: 230.5 acres, bounded by Mission Center Road, Friars Road, Interstate 805 and Serra Mesa neighborhood along Phyllis Place and Ainsley and Harton roads
    • Development: 4,780 condos and apartments; nearly 1 million square feet of commercial space; 31.8 acres in public parks, 2.1 acres in private recreation, 35.6 acres of open space; civic center with amphitheater and Heritage Museum on Mission Valley history; shuttle system, hybrid-car sharing program; hiking, biking and walking trails
    • Infrastructure: $150 million, including about $60 million in off-site improvements
    • Build-out value: $1.5 billion to $2 billion
    • Development team: Sudberry Properties, developer; Carrier Johnson of San Diego and Elkus Manfred Architects of Boston, land plan
    • Status: Grading began in late November. Completion expected in 12 to 15 years
    • Circa 37: 306 apartments by Sudberry, occupancy early 2012, with 500 more by 2013
    • Skyloft: 73 condos/townhomes, and Social Garden, 127 condos/townhomes, both by Shea Homes, models open fall 2011
    • Affordable housing: 150 units, opening by 2013
    • Senior housing: 175 units in a mixed-use building with retail space, open by 2015
    • Awards and honors to date: U.S. Green Building Council certification for neighborhood development; Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award; Catalyst Project by state housing department for sustainable land-use planning

    Off-site improvements

    First projects starting in 2011:
    • Sidewalk on west side of Texas Street from the valley, north-south
    • Upgrades to north entrance access routes to Fashion Valley
    • Widening of westbound Friars Road along Civita frontage
    • New traffic signals at Murray Ridge Road ramps at Interstate 805
    • Design completion for reconfiguration of interchange at state Route 163 and Friars Road
    • Traffic study and environmental review of proposed road link to Phyllis Place and I-805
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 09-11-2019 at 09:46 PM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Shapell buys half of Carlsbad ranch; plans 700 homes

    211 acres went for more than $30 million, a sign home building is picking up

    By Roger Showley
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 12:43 p.m.

    The 211-acre western half of Carlsbad's Robertson Ranch has been sold for more than $30 million to Los Angeles developer Shapell Homes in a sign of a revival of home building in San Diego County.

    Shapell plans to build 680 homes, starting in late-2013, on the property is located north of El Camino Real, west of Cannon Road and south of Tamarack Avenue on the eastern side of Carlsbad.

    The transaction, recorded last month was between Robertson family members and their family trust and Rancho Costera LLC, the Shapell entity involved, the county assessor's office said. The value was not disclosed but the transfer tax indicated it was about $37.4 million. Shapell said the price was less than that but more than $30 million.

    "This is a significant commitment for our company," said Shapell CEO Matt Koart, "and we intend to add to Carlsbad's already fantastic reputation and sense of community."

    Christer Westland, a senior planner with the city of Carlsbad, said the ranch masterplan, which calls for 1,112 homes on nearly 400 acres, divided the Shapell land into 22 planning areas. The include locations for single-family homes and apartments or condos, a 15-acre commercial center, 13.5-acre park and 6.8 acre site for an elementary school. About half the land is to remain in open space. He said Shapell will now need to process individual subdivisions and gain design approval.

    "It's important to Carlsbad," he said. "It seems to be an indication that things may be turning around."

    Peter Dennehy, an expert on San Diego development with John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said the eastern part of Robertson Ranch is being developed as The Foothills by Brookfield, D.R. Horton and William Lyon home builders with the first residents having moved in this past summer.

    "It's a great location for housing," Dennehy said. "It's been reasonably well accepted, though the market still struggles."

    Shapell, which has built off and on in San Diego County for decades, is a privately held, Beverly Hills-based firm that tends to buy land for the long term and build its own projects rather than selling off land to merchant builders, Dennehy said.

    "They're not just jumping into something that they need to develop in 12 months," he said. "That's one way a builder like that can compete with public builders," whose shareholders expect quick profits.

    Erik Pfahler, Shapell vice president for planning and land acquisition, said the company had little competition in bidding on the land, since much needs to be done to get final approval and install infrastructure.

    "We're hoping to begin grading in the first or second quarter of 2012," he said, with the first homes likely to be for sale in the third quarter of 2013.

    He said the company decided to move now because it feels the housing market will be relatively strong in three years.

    "We're optimistic by definition and I think we feel this is a pretty good place to be cautiously optimistic," Pfahler said.

    He said the single-family homes will likely range from 1,800 to 4,000 square feet and the townhomes from about 1,400 to 1,800 square feet. A senior housing project, probably for rent, also is expected.

    "What we've planned going in is to feel the market out and build a home that the community wants and what we planned going in on this acquisition is a moderate-sized home for the lot size."

    He added, "We're not ones to mansionize the lot."

    Shapell's last project in Carlsbad, an apartment development, was built 15 to 20 years ago, he said, and more recently was active in the Torrey Highlands area of Carmel Valley east of Del Mar. ... ch-plans-/
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 09-11-2019 at 09:47 PM.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    1,400 New Homes Planned for Santee, CA. (Near San Diego)
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 09-11-2019 at 09:48 PM.

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