San Diego Business Journal

Manchester Buys Mister A’s Building in Bankers Hill for $71.5 Million

By Lou Hirsh Friday, November 4, 2016
   
2550 Fifth Ave. - Photo courtesy of CoStar Group

2550 Fifth Ave. - Photo courtesy of CoStar Group

San Diego’s Manchester Financial Group, led by prominent local developer Douglas “Papa Doug” Manchester, announced that it has acquired the Bankers Hill property long known as the Mister A’s Building for $71.5 million.

A company statement said the development and investment firm also plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to the office and retail property at 2550 Fifth Ave., known more recently as Fifth & Laurel.

The 13-story, 168,000-square-foot Bankers Hill property consists primarily of offices with ground-floor retail, and its most prominent longtime tenant is the iconic Bertrand at Mister A’s restaurant on its top floor. Other current tenants include Carling Communications, the Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire law firm and Ace Parking.

The building, originally developed in 1965 by prominent local businessman John Alessio, was purchased in 2014 for approximately $39.2 million by an investment group consisting of Casey Brown, Steve Bollert and Paul Lebeau. The owners subsequently completed extensive renovations.

In his company’s statement, Manchester called the Mister A’s property “one of the most iconic buildings on the West Coast,” adding that he looks forward to “continuing the excellence in civic leadership afforded to the community by the entire Alessio family, as they have contributed greatly to the overall well-being of our city.”

“We look forward to continuing Mr. Alessio’s 50-year-old tradition of creating a terrific Christmas light show for all San Diegans to enjoy during the holidays,” Manchester said.

In the same statement, Bud Alessio, John’s son, said his family is “truly thankful” that Manchester Financial Group acquired the property. “They have a reputation for doing things right and I know will be a great shepherd with a commitment to excellence and retaining its local roots,” he said.

Manchester Financial Group is currently headquartered in the former Sempra Energy office tower at 101 Ash St. in downtown San Diego. Manchester acquired a 49 percent stake in that property last year, from majority owner Sandor Shapery.