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Downtown Is Now Facing a Defining Moment


Internet retail giant recently announced expansion plans for downtown Seattle, including a 65,000-square-foot “biosphere” made up of three glass-and-steel domes as part of a three downtown block acquisition with plans to build 3.3 million square feet of office space.

Office Hours and the Office Are Being Redefined

I am writing this column from my home office, after the children have gone to sleep, and I am feeling a tinge of last minute energy.

Plan Fits the Time, the Place and Aesthetic

Last week I reviewed the plans for the One Paseo project, a proposed 1.4 million-square-foot mixed-use development to be located at El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road in Carmel Valley. Issues have been raised, particularly as to its “urban” design in a suburban community, and its potential impact on traffic. I attempt to provide perspective as to why this project is an important one, and a correct land use solution.

One Paseo Is What Change Should Look Like

A heart is about to be transplanted into San Diego’s Carmel Valley, a neighborhood where community members and planning commissioners all agree that none currently exists.

It’s Time to Buy in the Residential Market

It is now time to buy a home. I have been saying this for the past several years, but now the market statistics back up the recommendation.

Finally, a Real Home Market Recovery Begins

Where does the housing market stand? The short answer is that it is almost standing up on its own two feet.

Housing Opportunity Shelved at Market Site

ake a look at the picture on this page and you will see the architecturally splendid new Vons on West Washington Street in Mission Hills.

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Use Creativity to Find Transportation Solutions

Our regional policymakers have to do a reality check on our transportation options.

The Good News Is That There Is Good News

It is that time of year when we are able to present accurate data reflecting the state of our regional economy and employment for the year just passed.

Residential Real Estate Sector Shall Return

With signs of economic recovery finally promising to be sustainably good news, it’s time to reflect on what this means to the residential real estate sector.

Redevelopment’s Return Already in the Cards

The state of California has cancelled redevelopment agencies.

Dark Economic Clouds Begin to Part in 2012

We have survived a year of stagnation, but 2012 will be characterized by gradual growth. I had expected better numbers over the past year, but I should have known better. This was the big recession — for most of us still active in the workforce — and the big ones necessitate a longer recovery process.

Policymakers Shouldn’t Believe in Yesterday

While there are valued manufacturing concerns active and presumably profitable in San Diego, the overall “footprint” for manufacturing is diminishing, and the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen dramatically.

COMMENTARY: Steve Jobs’ Genius Made a World of Difference

Steve Jobs changed the world in a way that few have.

Time to Tackle the Big Job: Infrastructure

President Barack Obama recently offered up his “jobs” recovery plan. I am eager to support the president in his efforts to put Americans back to work.

COMMENTARY: Remove These Roadblocks to Development

Do you want to have a glimpse into what I see as the future of the San Diego entitlement process for most development projects?

We Must Build for a Better Economy

In my postapocalyptic musing about recovery from our economic collapse, I have envisioned that the source of our resuscitation might be the much-vaunted technology sector, what with its growing importance as well as the competitive advantage it offers the U.S.

With Winds of Optimism at Their Backs, Investors Chase Quality

There is a decided — and quite unexpected — glow in the real estate capital markets, according to a consensus of the major debt and equity funders operating in the United States.

The REITs Give Us a Model For Actions in the Markets

There are three San Diego-based REITs eyeing the real estate market here and abroad. There are also many REITs that are located elsewhere but invest in San Diego. Many of the more than 200 listed REITs do business in San Diego.

Let’s Turn This Idea Into Redevelopment Reality

Sometimes such a great idea is foisted upon us that one feels terrible that you didn’t think of it first.

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Court Case Over Blight Reveals Decrepit System

The recent San Diego Superior Court decision (Community Youth Athletic Center v. City of National City, et al.) to reverse the City of National City’s redevelopment plan amendment is more than meets the eye.

Sales Tax Legislation Can Only Address Some of Retail Changes

In a world where “bricks and mortar” retail stores are fast losing ground to Internet-based sales, why is it that the state of California, as well as most other states, is not capturing sales taxes on these transactions?

Defining the New Normal Relative to Real Estate

As The Economist put it recently, the phrase “new normal” is usually used to explain the persistence of underwhelming economic data.

Region Will Have to Live With Economic Consequences of Housing Sector Choices


There is now some definition of how and when the housing market will recover. I am predicting a slight increase in pricing by the end of the year — perhaps a year-to-year 5 percent increase.

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Community Building Requires Company Participation to Work Well

Google has recently invested $86 million to provide a major source of funding for the construction and operation of 480 affordable rental housing units for low-income families and senior citizens in seven communities throughout the West and Midwest.

Focus Shifts to Rehabilitating Office Space

My firm has now completed our annual review of the real estate markets and the events and statistics that will undoubtedly catalyze or demoralize the markets and its players in the coming year.

The Region Is Ready to Find Its Place in New Economy

To be frank, the economic recovery seems to be occurring, but it is like a patient coming out of a major life-saving operation in the recovery room: She is still semicomatose, with the prognosis of a prolonged wake-up period ahead, and then an even longer recovery until she mends in full.

Shopping Revolution Shakes Up the Business World

On the day after “Cyber Monday” it was reported that $1 billion worth of transactions took place on the Internet, the largest one-day Internet consumption on record.

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Hotel Approval Process: Solution in Search of a Problem

The region’s economy is still losing private-sector jobs. San Diego County lost 2,200 jobs in August and the unemployment rate is now 10.6 percent.

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Are Reductions in Home Ownership Permanent?

There is considerable pundit buzz lately about the fact that the much heralded home ownership rate will permanently drop as a result of the recession.

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Answer to Fiscal Woes Can Be Found Within Us

We are now bouncing along the bottom of the economic cycle, worrying — as if it matters — whether the economy is now mired in a “double dip” recession or just continuing along its slow, miserly pace presumably to recovery.

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Proposed Commercial Legislation Is Wrong

A congresswoman from Nevada recently introduced legislation dubbed the Community Recovery and Enhancement Act of 2010 to provide short-term tax incentives to jump-start reinvestment in commercial real estate.

City Confronting a Problem of Historic Proportions

Even though Juan Cabrillo initiated Western civilization in San Diego in 1542, the irony of San Diego is that it is perceived as a new city, at least in terms of its urban development. It is because of this that the city has become zealous about preserving the old.

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Reframing the Dream: Time for Building Industry to Move On

There was a very large conference held in San Francisco two weeks ago. Its attendees filled the hotels, swarmed The Moscone Center, lined up to eat in the restaurants, and frequented the downtown shopping district’s boutique retailers. San Francisco was packed with attendees of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, dubbed “The Center of the App Universe,” from around the world who gathered to exchange ideas on making up software for your iPhone and iPad.

There Is Little Moral Hazard in Real Estate

The currently fashionable term “moral hazard” is the idea that one is not held accountable for their mistakes

Solving Infrastructure Problems Takes Civic Vision

A recent report published by the Urban Land Institute, “Infrastructure 2010: Investment Imperative,” argues that the U.S. is fundamentally deficient in both the amount, and state of, infrastructure, including roads, rail, energy, water and sewer systems.

Jobs, Homes, Education Keys to Area’s Future

Recently, someone asked me if there will ever again be a recovery and resale market for higher priced homes (e.g., those $800,000 and above).

For Real Estate the Day of Reckoning Has Arrived


It appears that the real estate markets have finally reached their day of reckoning.

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What Really Matters in Rebuilding Our Transportation System

I like the feeling of movement, whether in my car, on my bike, by Segway or even walking. It just seems that lately we spend a lot more time crawling slowly to our destination than actually moving.

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