The Quad in San Marcos. Courtesy Sea Breeze Properties

Sea Breeze Properties, developers of the $1 billion North City — a mixed-used commercial project in San Marcos — say they are eagerly  embracing students who are returning to the adjacent Cal State San Marcos campus for the fall semester, especially those lucky 860-plus scholars who are staying at The Quad.

When finished, the self-contained business district fronting Route 78 will boast 3,400 units of housing, 750,000 square feet of office space, 375,000 square feet of retail, including restaurants, groceries and entertainment, as well as The Quad, the student housing portion of the build. The project also features 20 acres of parks and trails.

So far, 20% of North City has been completed.

The businesses within the project say they’re anxious to get back to normal after a year of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While business has improved over the last few months — buoyed by new openings, community events, and reduced rent offered by the developers — North City and San Marcos business boosters are looking forward to increased foot traffic and brisker business from the students, faculty, and entire university ecosystem who’ll be looking to dine, drink, and get back to enjoying campus life,” said a spokesperson.

House for sale in La Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

Home improvement website Porch this week released a study which found that the average sales price of a home in the region could exceed $1 million by this time next year.

What’s amazing is that this projected increase represents a 25% bump over the current average price of $754,000. That’s a one-year increase of historic proportions, and would follow the hefty increase which took place this past year — close to 20%.

Porch said the projected rate of increase in San Diego is the third highest nationwide, trailing only Austin and Phoenix.

The website projects that the sales price of an average home in Austin will jump 37% over the coming year, while the sales price of a home in Phoenix will rise 26%.

Austin has experienced a flood of Californians moving into the metro area, with the population there now exceeding 1 million residents.

So, what’s behind the hefty run-ups in sales prices? There is a shortage of properties coming to market just as demand surges.

New housing construction has never recovered from the deep recession of 2008-2009, with supply lagging demand as the economy stages a sharp comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To find the residential real estate markets that could grow the most within the next year, researchers at Porch analyzed data from Zillow, Redfin and the Census Bureau.

The average household income in San Diego has now reached close to $84,000, according to the study.

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A spokeswoman for the iconic 132-year-old Hotel del Coronado checks in to note that the property “has reached another milestone in its $400 million “reimagination.”

The work has been quite extensive and brings the landmark property up to shiny new. She said that construction workers have completed restoration of the hotel’s front porch and lobby, as well as entry and retail outlets. 

The 757-room hotel has been undergoing extensive renovations, an effort that started before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

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Van Dermyden Makus Law Corp., which claims to be one of the nation’s top workplace investigations legal firms, says it has opened a San Diego office. 

Kelly Gemelli, a veteran practitioner in the area of employment law, has joined the firm as managing partner of the local office.

VM Law, as the firm is better known, currently has offices in Sacramento and San Rafael. The new office here is part of an overall strategy to expand services across the state.

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The Port of San Diego has promoted Karen Porteous to the position of executive vice president and chief of staff. Previously, the 26-year veteran held the title of chief administrative officer.

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Home services platform Thumbtack has released results of its 2021 Small Business Friendliness Survey, and San Diego didn’t come out too well. In fact, we failed. We got an F.

The score was based on the polling of 3,600 small business owners in the home maintenance and construction sector across the country.

Forty-four cities and 43 states received grades from A+ to F on overall small business friendliness, regulations, taxes, and training opportunities.

In addition to San Diego, cities scoring F’s were Detroit, Nashville, and Kansas City.

The top scoring cities on the business friendliness scale were Jacksonville, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Baltimore and Seattle. All received grades ranging from an A- to an A+.

The federal government received an F score. California received a C-.

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Finally…Hera Hub Temecula, the first woman-owned and focused business accelerator in the Inland Empire, will hold re-opening festivities the afternoon of Sept. 9. The event comes after more than a year of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hera Hub was founded in San Diego 10 years ago, and has been growing through a collaborative licensing model, with locations sprouting up nationwide, according to the website. 

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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