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bmfarley Mar 18, 2008 3:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDCAL (Post 3421672)
Alot of people are tired of the same big developers getting special treatment and monopolies from local government when it comes to deveoping in San Diego

I hear people saying this, like in the press, but where's the proof? The SD Tribune doesn't count.

The City has a general plan, land use ordnances, and zoning ordinances. Those form the foundation for what can be developed and where. But there's nothing wrong with a developer seeking variances or zoning changes in an ope forum in exchane for the city gettign something back in return.

SDCAL Mar 18, 2008 6:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmfarley (Post 3422884)
I hear people saying this, like in the press, but where's the proof? The SD Tribune doesn't count.

The City has a general plan, land use ordnances, and zoning ordinances. Those form the foundation for what can be developed and where. But there's nothing wrong with a developer seeking variances or zoning changes in an ope forum in exchane for the city gettign something back in return.

that's just it - "open forum", most of these things take place on the sidelines, in CLOSED-DOOR meetings where decisions are made and the "public" forums conducted by city hall are merely guises to make it look like it's a fair process

That may sound negative, but I think anyone who thinks otherwise is naive, especially with how corrupt our city govt has been

Manchester does not simply compete for bids in an "open forum", this guy has a vast network of politcal allies that he's been grooming for years behind the scenes.

I just think monopolies are unhealthy period. I'd like to see more variety

Also, I'd like to see more edgy and creative developers get a piece of the pie in this town. Manchester is a staunch conservative and not exactly a developer known for world-class cutting-edge developments

Marina_Guy Mar 18, 2008 1:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kpexpress (Post 3420997)
What did Doug Manchester do that was so offensive that the city would ban him from further develoment?

All I know of him is the huge flag office building and the manchester...not been here in SD for too long, can someone fill me in?


Developer is foe of same-sex marriage

Manchester, others help fund initiative

By Bill Ainsworth
U-T SACRAMENTO BUREAU

March 15, 2008

Developer Doug Manchester and other prominent San Diego County businessmen have given significant financial support to an initiative that would ban same-sex marriage targeted for the November statewide ballot.


Douglas Manchester
Manchester's $125,000 donation has prompted a gay-rights activist to urge a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Manchester-owned San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

In addition to Manchester, Mission Valley developer Terry Caster has donated $162,500; Robert Hoehn, owner of Hoehn Motors in Carlsbad, has given $25,000; and La Jolla businessman Roger Benson has given $50,000, state records show.

Manchester said he was motivated by his strong Catholic faith.

“I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” he said.

Donations from San Diego residents make up a significant part of the $1 million raised for the initiative.


That has allowed the campaign to hire professional signature gatherers to help collect the 700,000 signatures needed to qualify the constitutional amendment for the ballot, said Andrew Pugno, an attorney for Protectmarriage.com, which is sponsoring the amendment.
Pugno believes his group will have enough signatures to make the ballot, but it will be close. The group expects to turn signatures in next month. Past efforts relying almost exclusively on volunteer signature gatherers have failed.

Keith Gran, a gay-rights activist and global project manager for a medical device company, said he is outraged by Manchester's donation.

“He's paying people to add a bigoted, discriminatory amendment to the constitution,” Gran said. “I think that's appalling. I think people ought to know that.”

In 2000, Proposition 22, a statute banning same-sex marriage, was approved by 61 percent of California voters. A constitutional amendment is less vulnerable to legal challenge.

Supporters of the new initiative effort said they believe any boycott would fail.

“Support for traditional marriage is a mainstream view,” Pugno said. “I can't imagine that efforts to boycott businesses with mainstream views are going to be successful.”

Manchester said his hotels and restaurants welcome gays and lesbians as employees and as customers. “I don't want to offend anybody,” he said.

But Manchester said he decided to donate because he has heard that schools that teach that marriage is between a man and a woman could be sued for discriminating against gays and lesbians.

“When they say that we cannot say that a marriage is between a man and a woman, that's where I draw the line,” Manchester said.

Manchester said he was encouraged by his friend Caster.

Caster, who heads Caster Cos., which owns A-1 Self-Storage and other commercial properties, said he believes that marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to society.

“Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society,” he said.

Pugno said he believes that donations for the initiative have increased because the California Supreme Court is weighing a lawsuit on the legality of same-sex marriage.

News of Manchester's contribution has been circulating throughout the gay and lesbian community for several weeks. State Sen. Christine Kehoe, a San Diego Democrat who is a lesbian, said she was disappointed by Manchester.

“I was surprised that Doug Manchester would make such an enormous contribution to try to deny a small group of Californians their civil rights,” Kehoe said.

Gran has contacted officials with the Hyatt Corp., which operates the Manchester Grand Hyatt, to discuss the issue.

Hyatt employees plan to meet next week with the Greater San Diego Business Association, which promotes businesses owned by gays and lesbians.

“We are looking for them to put some distance between themselves and Doug Manchester,” said Joyce Marieb, chief executive officer of the business association.

Ken Dolan, a sales representative at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, said the Hyatt Corp. has a good record in supporting and hiring gays and lesbians.

“We are friendly to the (gay and lesbian) community,” Dolan said. “As a hotel, we had nothing to do with the contribution. We are trying to move ahead.”

sandiegodweller Mar 18, 2008 2:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3423376)
Developer is foe of same-sex marriage

Manchester, others help fund initiative

By Bill Ainsworth
U-T SACRAMENTO BUREAU

March 15, 2008

Developer Doug Manchester and other prominent San Diego County businessmen have given significant financial support to an initiative that would ban same-sex marriage targeted for the November statewide ballot.


Douglas Manchester
Manchester's $125,000 donation has prompted a gay-rights activist to urge a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Manchester-owned San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

In addition to Manchester, Mission Valley developer Terry Caster has donated $162,500; Robert Hoehn, owner of Hoehn Motors in Carlsbad, has given $25,000; and La Jolla businessman Roger Benson has given $50,000, state records show.

Manchester said he was motivated by his strong Catholic faith.

“I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” he said.

Another spin is that he puts his money where his mouth is and stands up for what he believes in.

SDCAL Mar 18, 2008 4:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3423462)
Another spin is that he puts his money where his mouth is and stands up for what he believes in.

He can have his beliefs, but for someone who creates developments that are supposed to serve the community at large, putting his money on such a divisive and controversial issue is really stupid, IMO

navyweaxguy Mar 19, 2008 1:47 AM

Hey what do you guys think of the 600 Front St Apartments? That is if anyone knows anything about them. I'm drawn to them because they have large underground parking spots. With me owning a lifted dodge ram that is important.

Derek Mar 19, 2008 1:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by navyweaxguy (Post 3424755)
Hey what do you guys think of the 600 Front St Apartments? That is if anyone knows anything about them. I'm drawn to them because they have large underground parking spots. With me owning a lifted dodge ram that is important.



I pretty much just know where they are. But they are in a good location. Pretty quiet. There just isn't too much pedestrian activity in this part of downtown, but you won't find any homeless people either, it's just that there isn't too much ground level retail around. Just about all the amenities you might need are within a ten minute walk however.

navyweaxguy Mar 19, 2008 5:10 AM

Thanks. I got a decent pic of the apartment towers going up on the "dry" side of 32nd street Navy base. I will put that up tomorrow some time. It will be a nice addition on base.. the barracks I am in at the moment are fuggin awful.

Marina_Guy Mar 19, 2008 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDDTProspector (Post 3419682)
cosmo square is still a go....... but not for 6 months.. it will be a parking lot for this summer, but should see some action this fall...

The giant Grigio Is also it going to get a roof top club, I can't think of the clubs name in LA , something like the "Orient" (think of the standard in LA). anyways my friends are stoked because the "orient?" is a great club

Hate to say "I told you so.. but..."

Big project downtown stalled by financing

Affiliate of S.D. developer has filed for bankruptcy

By Mike Freeman
STAFF WRITER

March 19, 2008

In the height of the housing boom, an affiliate of San Diego developer Simplon Corp. spent about $25.5 million acquiring a full block near Petco Park, where it planned a 35-story condo tower called Cosmopolitan Square.

This month, the Simplon affiliate filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – in part because of difficulties securing financing in today's tight credit markets.

The Simplon property, bounded by J Street and Seventh, Eighth and Island avenues, is believed to be the largest pending downtown project forced into bankruptcy by the current housing slump and constricting credit markets.


Simplon executives say the bankruptcy of Simplon Ballpark LLC was necessary to buy time so the company could secure new financing, including construction loans, to push the project ahead.
“I am confident we will remedy the situation and emerge much stronger and well-positioned in the market in relatively short order,” said Jack Scull, chief executive of Simplon Corp., in a written response to questions. “I fully anticipate we can proceed with the strong commitments from our new lending partners and start construction of Cosmopolitan Square as planned and approved by the end of spring.”

But court documents filed by the company's largest creditor contend that Simplon Ballpark has been granted short-term extensions since its existing debt came due in May and it still has been unable to obtain financing. It defaulted on the extension agreements and filed for bankruptcy on the eve of foreclosure, the creditor contends.

The creditor also said in court documents that Simplon owes nearly $40 million on the property to 14 additional lenders or investors. It faces an additional $1.5 million in liens for unpaid bills to engineering, architectural and consulting firms.

The property was recently appraised at $26.5 million, according to the creditor, which has asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to proceed with foreclosure.

In addition, a different Simplon affiliate also has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on another condo/hotel site downtown – this one on a partial block at Ash and Front streets. The debt on that parcel, now a parking lot and taco shop, is about $13.5 million, according to court documents.

The company said it expects to refinance the debt on the site in the “immediate future.”

Simplon isn't alone in seeing its downtown projects stumble. Several have been shelved. Atmosphere, a roughly 80-unit loft project on Fifth between Beech and Ash streets, began construction but has since stalled, leaving unsightly steel bars around the site.

Cosmopolitan Square originally was approved for 334 condos with ground floor retail. It also included a city fire station.

“I believe this is one of the very best undeveloped sites downtown,” said Gary London of London Realty Advisors, a San Diego real estate consulting firm. “It is not likely to be developed by anybody for at least five or six years.”

Simplon has redesigned the high-rise. It now includes a “five-star hotel” for 210 rooms and 113 “very high end” condos, according to the company.

Hotels are considered easier to finance in today's tight credit markets than pure residential towers, according to real estate experts. Simplon didn't respond when asked if it has lined up a hotel operator.

But London noted that hotels are not immune to the current credit crunch, in which lenders are reluctant to take big risks on ambitious projects.

“Hotels still look good, but they're hitting the top of the market right now, and I think investors and lenders sense that,” London said.

Simplon Ballpark got its original $15 million loan in 2005 from Liberty Bankers Life Insurance. Last year, a limited liability company led by Steve Black, a principal in Cisterra Partners, bought the note from Liberty. Cisterra developed DiamondView Tower, an office high-rise just outside the right field wall of Petco Park.

Black contends that Simplon Ballpark now owes more than $18 million, including interest, penalties and other costs. He has asked the court to allow foreclosure to go forward. Simplon Corp. previously developed the Radisson Bay View, a 22-story, 334-room hotel in San Diego, the 10-story Radisson Hotel in National City and the Rancho Santa Fe Creek high-end subdivision, among other projects. The company emphasized in a statement that it believes it will be able to get financing to build Cosmopolitan Square.

“The credit markets have been a challenge for all developers over the past year or so and Simplon has certainly been delayed in its efforts,” the company said. “But the commitments it has received have been reaffirmed to Simplon, both as to additional equity partners and debt structures, which is why we anticipate an expeditious exit from the filings made.”

sandiegodweller Mar 19, 2008 1:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3425544)

“I believe this is one of the very best undeveloped sites downtown,” said Gary London of London Realty Advisors, a San Diego real estate consulting firm. “It is not likely to be developed by anybody for at least five or six years.”

Simplon has redesigned the high-rise. It now includes a “five-star hotel” for 210 rooms and 113 “very high end” condos, according to the company.

Hotels are considered easier to finance in today's tight credit markets than pure residential towers, according to real estate experts. Simplon didn't respond when asked if it has lined up a hotel operator.

But London noted that hotels are not immune to the current credit crunch, in which lenders are reluctant to take big risks on ambitious projects.

“Hotels still look good, but they're hitting the top of the market right now, and I think investors and lenders sense that,” London said.

I guess my prediction of 2012 was a little optimistic.

keg92101 Mar 19, 2008 2:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3425623)
I guess my prediction of 2012 was a little optimistic.

I'm not quite sure. As the early 90's, those developers with surpluses of cash will continue to build projects, since they can't afford to simply let their cash sit idle. One such is Oliver McMillan. We built a couple of projects for them, and during that time, learned that they have made so much cash over the last 10 years from "Grand Slam" projects (The Glenn, Lofts at 777 6th, etc), they will continue to build apartments. However, It will be interesting to see how quickly they move onto the next one once their project on 10th & G is complete. It will probably depend on how fast it absorbs. One of the major problems with downtown is that the retail below new buildings sit idle for so long. Its funny how all of the old wherehouses are filling up lighting fast (EV Tavern, Basic, The Corner, etc...), while the ones represented by commercial brokers sit empty for 2-4 years. How can condo builders sell a 24-7 lifestyle when their retail below sits empty?

I also think all of the talks of Vantage Point and their nearly 700 units to absorb is way overplayed. That location sucks for those looking for a true downtown village feel. Its surrounded by parking lots, the 163, and office towers that shut down after 6 pm. I would not be suprised if this thing turns into apartments.

Marina_Guy Mar 19, 2008 3:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by keg92101 (Post 3425706)
I'm not quite sure. As the early 90's, those developers with surpluses of cash will continue to build projects, since they can't afford to simply let their cash sit idle. One such is Oliver McMillan. We built a couple of projects for them, and during that time, learned that they have made so much cash over the last 10 years from "Grand Slam" projects (The Glenn, Lofts at 777 6th, etc), they will continue to build apartments. However, It will be interesting to see how quickly they move onto the next one once their project on 10th & G is complete. It will probably depend on how fast it absorbs. One of the major problems with downtown is that the retail below new buildings sit idle for so long. Its funny how all of the old wherehouses are filling up lighting fast (EV Tavern, Basic, The Corner, etc...), while the ones represented by commercial brokers sit empty for 2-4 years. How can condo builders sell a 24-7 lifestyle when their retail below sits empty?

I also think all of the talks of Vantage Point and their nearly 700 units to absorb is way overplayed. That location sucks for those looking for a true downtown village feel. Its surrounded by parking lots, the 163, and office towers that shut down after 6 pm. I would not be suprised if this thing turns into apartments.

Me thinks the rent is too high and the demographics still don't support good retail. It is interesting to note that Downtown SD has very little 'retail' ... plenty of bars, bars, and restaurants that really are bars... but little home furnishings, linens, card stores, etc. Compare this with the Pearl District in Portland... much different story there. I still think Downtown's residential population is very much 'bedroom' in nature. Suburban towers. I actually have neighbors that know very little about downtown and still drive everywhere. I guess it takes time to 'grow' a downtown culture.

keg92101 Mar 19, 2008 7:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3425736)
Me thinks the rent is too high and the demographics still don't support good retail. It is interesting to note that Downtown SD has very little 'retail' ... plenty of bars, bars, and restaurants that really are bars... but little home furnishings, linens, card stores, etc. Compare this with the Pearl District in Portland... much different story there. I still think Downtown's residential population is very much 'bedroom' in nature. Suburban towers. I actually have neighbors that know very little about downtown and still drive everywhere. I guess it takes time to 'grow' a downtown culture.

I am headed to the Pearl District at the end of April. What did the Pearl do differently in order to make the retail work there? There has to be some sort of overall plan in order to get all of the well rounded retail. I know that I would love to be able to get everything I need in EV, and hate getting in my car to go to Trader Joe's, Lowes, etc...

SDCAL Mar 20, 2008 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3425736)
Me thinks the rent is too high and the demographics still don't support good retail. It is interesting to note that Downtown SD has very little 'retail' ... plenty of bars, bars, and restaurants that really are bars... but little home furnishings, linens, card stores, etc. Compare this with the Pearl District in Portland... much different story there. I still think Downtown's residential population is very much 'bedroom' in nature. Suburban towers. I actually have neighbors that know very little about downtown and still drive everywhere. I guess it takes time to 'grow' a downtown culture.

I think part of the problem is the retail we do have is boxed-up in Horton Plaza, again where most people drive to.

Whenever I am out walking around I see very few people doing "everyday things", ie shopping, walking to the gym, walking to work, etc. It seems like the vast majority of people on downtown's streets are either convention goers looking for a restaurant, or people dressed-up to go out to eat/clubbing. Downtown is still a place where you go to eat/bar hop, not known as a great shopping venue

I have noticed a lot of little botique clothing stores in the East Village and I NEVER see customers in them, I am wondering how they are surviving

SDCAL Mar 20, 2008 12:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by keg92101 (Post 3425706)
Its funny how all of the old wherehouses are filling up lighting fast (EV Tavern, Basic, The Corner, etc...),

yes, I saw the sign for "the corner" in the old wherehouse adjacent ICON. What is it going to be? A restaurant??

SDCAL Mar 20, 2008 1:06 AM

well, I still hope cosmo square gets off the ground this year as unlikely as it may be.

Simplon sounds kind of desperate in that article - If they are going to be that persistent in the face of so many obstacles, maybe they should go all the way and propose a 600ft building, that would give a greater profit potential with more rooms and or condos on less land, and give the building automatic appeal and media attention as the tallest in the city. I would think a lender would jump at that - plus it is far enough SE to be out of that radius flight-path. We are running out of iconic spots to break the 500 ft mark, someone should try

Marina_Guy Mar 20, 2008 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDCAL (Post 3427082)
I think part of the problem is the retail we do have is boxed-up in Horton Plaza, again where most people drive to.

Whenever I am out walking around I see very few people doing "everyday things", ie shopping, walking to the gym, walking to work, etc. It seems like the vast majority of people on downtown's streets are either convention goers looking for a restaurant, or people dressed-up to go out to eat/clubbing. Downtown is still a place where you go to eat/bar hop, not known as a great shopping venue

I have noticed a lot of little botique clothing stores in the East Village and I NEVER see customers in them, I am wondering how they are surviving

There is a good little mom and pop thing going on in parts of EV. Some interesting urban clothing shops. This is a trend I see in other parts of the country as well. A t-shirt can cost $60 or $70 bucks in these places. As far as I am concerned the 'live / work / play' thing for downtown is VERY over-rated. I really see that the hotels and convention center are the drivers of the economics in Downtown. Very few restaurants cater to the 'local' crowd. It is all for the business/convention person, the out of town tourist, and the 20 somethings that want to get drunk. I know there have been efforts to 'engage' the Downtown resident in the restaurant scene with 'specials' etc, but I think most of the them fail. I don't blame business for catering to the out of town crowd...but this trend doesn't help grow a 'neighborhood'.

A smart developer might want to consider lower rents or 'enticements' to encourage lower cost restaurants and retail in the ground floor of these buildings.

keg92101 Mar 20, 2008 6:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3428361)
There is a good little mom and pop thing going on in parts of EV. Some interesting urban clothing shops. This is a trend I see in other parts of the country as well. A t-shirt can cost $60 or $70 bucks in these places. As far as I am concerned the 'live / work / play' thing for downtown is VERY over-rated. I really see that the hotels and convention center are the drivers of the economics in Downtown. Very few restaurants cater to the 'local' crowd. It is all for the business/convention person, the out of town tourist, and the 20 somethings that want to get drunk. I know there have been efforts to 'engage' the Downtown resident in the restaurant scene with 'specials' etc, but I think most of the them fail. I don't blame business for catering to the out of town crowd...but this trend doesn't help grow a 'neighborhood'.

A smart developer might want to consider lower rents or 'enticements' to encourage lower cost restaurants and retail in the ground floor of these buildings.

Couldn't agree more. I want to know how the retail brokers are selling developers higher rents over a ten year period when their space sits vacant for 4 years before getting the space filled. Again, all the places downtown that locals used are old wherehouses that are not represented by the commercial brokerage team who keeps all the "NEW" retail space empty. It is also where we get the true "local" restaurants/shops/coffeehouses, not the national chains.

SDDTProspector Mar 20, 2008 10:46 PM

FROM:MARINA GUY

Hate to say "I told you so.. but..."

Big project downtown stalled by financing

Affiliate of S.D. developer has filed for bankruptcy
_________________________________________________________

Maybe that why... by buddy mentioned Doug Manchester (not) Simplon.. Maybe he is on to something.... I don't know...


We all know that Simplon is going in the crapper... they have been talking about it for the past 6 months now

HurricaneHugo Mar 22, 2008 5:58 AM

Usd!!


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