Apartments in San Diego’s East Village. Photo by Chris Stone

By Tom York

There is a bit of silver lining in those ever-present COVID-19 storm clouds. According to website Apartmentlist.com, rents in San Diego have remained stable the past year, with rent growth at 0.4% for 2020 compared to 0.9% for 2019.

Local rents did increase 0.1% in December but were down 0.6% since the start of the pandemic in March. Median rents in San Diego currently stand at $1,568 for a 1-bedroom and $2,079 for a two-bedroom apartment, the study found.

The local market is doing better compared to other U.S. cities, where lockdowns have had negative impacts. San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and New York City continue to suffer plummeting rental rates, though in smaller markets and suburbs, rents are increasing. Nationwide, rents are down 1.5% for the year.

For a deep dive, go to the website’s January Apartment List Rent Report.

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California Bank & Trust has a new CEO, but one with a familiar face. Veteran CB&T executive Eric Ellingsen picks up the title of CEO to add to his existing responsibilities as president and COO. According to a media release, Ellingsen will continue to oversee the growth of the bank, including oversight of commercial banking. Meanwhile, David E. Blackford transitions from CEO to executive chairman, with continued responsibility for commercial real estate. Ellingsen began his career as a temporary junior accountant 20 years ago. In 2012 he was promoted to CFO and in 2016 named President and COO.

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San Diego’s burgeoning craft beer sector has added couple of new products. Coronado Brewing Co. says it has introduced Orange Avenue Shandy, a new ale that will become part of the brewer’s 16-oz. can, 6-pack lineup. The ale, now available at the company’s three sites, shipped to distributors Jan. 11. Meanwhile, Saint Archer Brewing Co. has added a new beverage to its R&D series. The product, Peaches & Cream Milkshake IPA with Oolong Tea, features tea “sourced from small farms around the world.” The new product is the result of a collaboration with Paru Tea Bar, a local purveyor of loose-leaf teas.

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The regional offices of Bank of America gave $2.3M to local nonprofits in 2020, twice that donated in 2019, Most of the awards went to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of health, food insecurity, jobs and education, according to a news release. In addition to cash awards, BofA also donated 216,000 masks, 200-plus cases of hand sanitizer and 8,000 pairs of gloves. These donations are in addition to 400,000 masks donated to farm workers in San Diego and Imperial counties. The bank’s generosity included awards to the San Diego Region Small Business Development Administration to support small businesses suffering financially from the pandemic as well as awards to the Jacobs and Cushman Food Bank to support to its program for children and the San Diego Housing Commission for emergency rental assistance. Additionally, local bank employees also donated 7,000 hours of time to help local nonprofit projects.

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And speaking of the Jacobs and Cushman Food Bank…The James M. Cox Foundation recently donated $25,000 to back efforts supporting families in need during the pandemic. The Cox donation will provide 125,000 meals. The donation was one of three awards given to regional food banks, including in Orange County and Santa Barbara, which totaled $75,000. The foundation is the charitable arm of local cable provider Cox Communications.

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The South Poway Business Park now has 534,000 square feet of additional class A industrial space, thanks to completion of a new project by Ryan Companies US and joint venture partner DWS Group. The two said they have finished work on the two buildings in its Vantage Point site within the business park. According to Ryan, a national e-commerce client inked a 20-year lease for the buildings when under construction. With completion of the project, Ryan says it has constructed more 1.24 million square feet of warehouse space in the county over the last 24 months. Warehouse projects recently completed include the 405,000 square feet Pacific Vista Commerce Center and the 303,000 square feet Poway Ridgeview project on behalf of Healthpeak Properties. The Vantage Point buildings feature 36-foot minimum clear heights, 180-foot concrete common truck courts, 113 dock-high loading doors and 12 grade-level ramps. Ryan declined to disclose the cost of the project.

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Finally, six attorneys from San Diego law firm Procopio have been elevated to partner status. A spokesman said that the six, Brook Taylor Barnes, Jessica Lazur, Adriana Ochoa, Rebecca Reed, William Smelko and Christopher Tinen, are the latest to assume their new roles in a firm that now numbers 180 attorneys. Click here to drill down on the background and expertise of the new partners. By the way, the firm is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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