Biotech buildings
Aerial view of the biotech buildings acquired by Oxford Properties Group. Courtesy on the company

Canadian real estate investor Oxford Properties Group has acquired nine properties featuring 13 biotech buildings in Sorrento Mesa and Sorrento Valley.

Oxford said in a news release that it paid $464 million for the 650,000-square-foot portfolio.

Sorrento Valley and Sorrento Mesa have become “epicenters” of growth within region’s life science sector, the company said. Which is something locals have known for years.

Leasing activity in the region has reached 4 million square feet, an all-time high, and 80% higher than 2020, which was another record year.

As a result, asking rents in San Diego’s life science sector have increased 34%, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Biotech wasn’t the only sector enjoying a boom economy in the past two years.

According to a report by commercial real estate market researcher Property Shark, 2021 California office sales, San Diego had a bang-up 2021 when it comes to office and related properties.

About 4.6 million square feet of office space changed hands here—23% more space in play than in 2020.

Sales dollar volume reached $2.1 billion—an increase of more than 48%.

However, the total was still below the pre-pandemic record of $3 billion in 2019.

San Diego recorded an increase of 20% in the average price per square foot, which touched $393 — more than the 2019 and 2020 averages of $283 and $327 per square foot.

The Bay Area saw the highest levels of investment activity overall in California.

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Carrier Air Canada is adding nonstop service from Montréal to San Diego International Airport  beginning May 20. According to a release, the service is the first nonstop service between San Diego and the capital of Quebec.

The flights will operate during the summer with arrivals into San Diego on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and departures on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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Bank of America recently donated $100 to the San Diego Food Bank for each of its employees in San Diego who received a COVID-19 booster shot. The bank said the $60,000 donation will allow the food bank to serve up 300,000 meals to those in need.

According to the food bank, one in three, or about 1 million, of San Diego’s 3.3 million population, face food insecurity. Of this number, 285,000 are children. 

Overall, BofA says it has provided more than $211,000 to support hunger relief efforts in San Diego.

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According to a new report from apartment rental website RentCafe, San Diego now boasts fitness access for 75,000 apartment units, a number representing 85% of all residential complexes built in the last two decades.

San Diego is a top city for each of these amenities — 55,000 apartments have access to a spa center on-site.

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Local nonprofit ProduceGood said it has “gleaned” or rescued about 1 million pounds of produce from area orchards, farms and farmers markets.

The number represents about 500 tons of edible produce diverted from landfills, according to a news release from the local nonprofit.

The produce rescued will provide about 3 million servings to the hungry.

ProduceGood will celebrate its million-pound mark on March 26 at its annual Spring Gleaning event at the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa.

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The University of San Diego’s Angel Conference has released the names of six finalists selected for its fourth annual funding program. The startups represent “innovative solutions in health tech, spirits, diagnostics, veterinary therapeutics and cleantech,” according to a news release.

The six emerging companies picked to compete for investment are:

  • BrainSpace – which seeks to provide neurocritical care for protecting the brain and spine after trauma, surgery, or neuro degeneration
  • First Light Coffee Whiskey – which is making environmentally conscious spirits
  • CARI Health – which is developing remote monitoring of medications
  • Hera Biotech – which is developing the first non-surgical test for endometriosis, which is a prime condition behind female infertility
  • LifEngine Animal Health Laboratories – which is transferring gene editing and cancer treatments n humans to dogs
  • ReJoule – which is addressing the need for testing of effective second-life batteries

The conference claims it has become the largest event-based angel funding program in the country–investing as much as $100,000 in each of the previous conference events.

A total of 90 companies applied for SDAC IV in hopes of landing $200,000  for the winner and other cash prizes for runners up.

Activities surrounding the conference will end in an online final funding event on March 24.

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And while we’re on the topic of entrepreneurs… Entrepreneur Marie Vaudry has launched a new San Diego startup with an unusual twist — shipping monthly subscription boxes of games and activities to people suffering with moderate-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The business, Gleam in Your Eye, is quickly gaining traction with a number of high-profile nonprofit agencies, including Hilarity for Charity, which was founded by Hollywood comedian Seth Rogen.

Vaudry says she got the idea for the startup after her experiences with her mother, who was diagnosed with dementia at age 59 about 10 years ago.

Vaudry realized that there was a dearth of resources available to caregivers and their loved ones, so she launched Gleam in Your Eye to help fill that need.

The boxes are available for $45 a month on a subscription basis.

Someone is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s every 60 seconds in the United States, with 6 million people suffering from the diseases, according to Vaudry.

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More depressing news about the local housing market.

California has the second lowest number of homebuyers under age 25, according to a new nationwide report from Inspection Support Network.

The analysis found that just over 2% of all conventional home loans in the Golden State were for homebuyers under 25. 

Nationwide, the homeownership rate for adults under 25 reached 25.7% in 2020, matching a previous peak from the height of the housing bubble in 2005.