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com SAN DIEGO BUSINESS JOURNAL July 28, 2014


For this column,
my goal was to get
a true picture of
the current market
for high-end real
estate downtown
and to fnd out
what its like to
live in a thriving
metropolis. The
best way to do this
is to talk to a real
estate agent who has lived and worked
in downtown for some time. That agent
was Pat Edmondson with Willis Allen
Real Estate.
As I walked a few blocks from the
parking garage to the Willis Allen
offce on Fifth Avenue, I was struck
by what had to be one of the most
gorgeous mornings I have experienced
in a long time a classic San Diego
summer morning, clear skies, a cool
breeze, utterly glorious. It was two
days before the Comic-Con rush was to
begin, and oddly, the town was quiet.
As I made my way up Fifth Avenue, the
restaurant people were setting up their
sidewalk tables, trucks were pulling up
with deliveries, and apron-clad chefs
were chatting with the vendors. The
aromas billowing out of each eatery
was intoxicating. There wasnt a geek
in sight, just people walking dogs or
jogging and business men and women
walking with purpose toward offces. It
truly lived up to its name as Americas
Finest City that day.
Edmondson has been with Willis
Allen for the much of the last decade.
She has lived and worked downtown
since May 2003 and has loved every
minute of it. She and her husband were
among the frst people to move into the
Park Place high-rise tower at 700 W.
Harbor Drive in the Marina District,
downsizing from life in Solana Beach.
Park Place a Bosa Development
Corp. project is a 30-foor building
with 178 townhomes and condos that
was completed in 2003. Edmondson
said that for years right across the
street from Park Place was the old
abandoned police headquarters that
was a bit of a wreck.
The station, built in 1939 and listed
on The National Register of Historic
Places, was redone by Terramar Retail
Centers and fnished in November
2013.
Its been a godsend to us, she said.
I think its helped the values of Park
Place to have that right across the street
and have that beautiful view, instead of
the mess that was there before.
When the Edmondsons moved
downtown, the 43-story Electra
condominium high-rise on the
corner of Kettner and Broadway was
not there, while the Grande in the
Columbia District, soon to be called
the Waterfront, was just beginning.
The Pinnacle on Front Street hadnt
broken ground.
The two-tower, 41-story Harbor
Club project completed in 1992 was
one of the frst high-rise developments
in downtown. The towers are on
Harbor Boulevard in the heart of the
Gaslamp Quarter. They have stood
watch during the rollercoaster ride that
was the downtown economy for 22
years. Urban legend has it that in the
frst tower there was one young man
who lived in the entire building alone.
Edmondson said she had read about
Find the Perfect View for Watching Downtown Luxury Develop
LUXURY
REAL ESTATE
Stephanie R. Glidden
this also.
It was a time in San Diegos history
when things just werent moving, she
said. It must have been an eerie feeling,
enjoyable in some ways but eerie in
others.
Josie Vara, Edmondsons assistant,
created a large package of data
regarding properties for sale in various
buildings and at various price points.
It is a cornucopia of data, and there
is a lot going on. Fourteen properties
have sold in the 92101 ZIP code during
the last six months ranging in price
from $1.5 million to $6 million. From
$900,000 to $1.5 million, there were 29
properties sold during the same time
period. In the $550,000 to $900,000
range, 85 properties sold, and 215 were
sold for $500,000 or lower.
Yup, a whole lot is going on.
Edmondson said she doesnt drive
at all. When shes showing property,
shell take a pedicab because it really
gives you a feel of the city. It is a truly
walkable, livable city. She said its like
living in a small town because everyone
knows everyone else.
I have fnally learned to leave about
20 minutes early for an appointment
because Im going to see three or four
people I know, she said.
From the data Vara had provided,
The Meridian luxury residential building
at 700 Front St. had the highest-priced
apartment sold in recent months by far.
The 5,160-square-foot unit No. 2405
sold in March for $4.1 million. The
listing agent was Cher Battoe of Coldwell
Banker Residential, who also represented
the buyer.
Edmondson said the Meridian gets
the highest prices and is the true
luxury lifestyle. Meridian has 40
people on staff and valet parking, while
the units are quite spacious. And as
with any building, the views depend on
each units location.
The lowest-priced unit in the
Meridian sold for $1.1 million, also
in March. It is a 2,250-square-foot
apartment with two bedrooms and two
baths and homeowner association dues
of $1,406 a month.
Edmondson believes that downtown
is just coming into its own with all the
future plans underway.
With all the structures planned, the
convention center being enlarged, the
embarcadero going in, all these things
that are coming into fruition, it really is
just the beginning.
And no one can beat us on the
weather, anywhere else, is my opinion.
Send luxury real estate items to
sglidden@sdbj.com.
Photo courtesy of Pacifc Sothebys International Realty
The Bayside is a 36-story condominium building at 1325 Pacifc Highway. Unit No. 3204 was sold recently for just under $2.5 million by
Francine Finn of Pacifc Sothebys International Realty.
Photo courtesy of Pacifc Sothebys International Realty
The Bayside on Pacifc Highway has gated 24-hour security.
Photo courtesy of Pablo Mason
Trudy Stambook of Centre City Properties has the listing on No.
2004 at the Renaissance at 645 Front St. The price is $3.7 million.
Photo courtesy of Robert Zaballos
The view from apartment 2004 in the
Renaissance Tower
Photo courtesy of Pablo Mason
The dining room of apartment 2004.
Photo courtesy of Pablo Mason
The master bedroom view from No. 2004.