A former Sears store at El Cajon’s Parkway Plaza is being redeveloped with a variety of retailers taking portions of the space and plans are in the works for a similar redevelopment of a former Sears store in the Chula Vista Center mall.
Combined with other projects either planned or underway, they are evidence of what brokers said is a healthy commercial real estate market for retail property in San Diego County heading into 2019.
“2018 was a really steady year in San Diego County for core retail assets,” said Craig Killman, an executive vice president of JLL who is the leasing agent on the Parkway Plaza and Chula Vista projects. “2019 feels like it’s going to be a stable year, but nothing crazy.”
Tenants lined up for the former Sears store at Parkway Plaza include Bob’s Discount Furniture, Ashley Home Store and Burlington Coat Factory, Killman said.
Plans also call for the former Sears garden center at Parkway Plaza to be used for restaurants, Killman said.
The renovation work is slated to begin this year and finish in 2020.
Opened in 1972 and formerly known as Westgate Parkway, Parkway Plaza has long been a shopping hub for East County.
‘A Fabulous Location’
Details on what will go into the former Sears store in the Chula Vista Center are still being formulated, Killman said.
“It’s a fabulous location,” Killman said. “We’ve just got to figure out what the highest and best use of the property is.”
Opened in 1962 at 555 Broadway, Chula Vista Center is in the middle of downtown Chula Vista near San Diego County Court South County Division at 500 Third Ave., and Chula Vista City Hall at 276 Fourth Ave.
Killman said it could include something similar to the former Sears store in Parkway Plaza, or it could be a mixed-use development that would include some apartments.
Overall, the retail market in San Diego County softened in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to CBRE, but the outlook for 2019 is positive with new retailers at both the high- and low-end of the market set to open and a flurry of new construction in Del Mar.
Leasing activity was down 22.6 percent from the third quarter, but the amount of available retail space remained tight at 6.6 percent with overall vacancy continuing the steep downward trend that it’s been on since 2013, CBRE reported.