Neighborhood Spotlight | Cortez Hill San Diego

cortez_hill_san_diegoThis is part 5 of 6 in our “San Diego Neighborhood Spotlight Series.” Click here for part 1 on the Marina District, click here for part 2 on the East Village, here for part 3 on Little Italy San Diego, and here for part 4 on the Columbia neighborhood.

When it comes to our Downtown San Diego neighborhoods, there is no shortage of diversity. Each neighborhood has a different and unique feeling. The neighborhood that stands out as perhaps the most unique, is Cortez Hill San Diego.

Cortez Hill San Diego is a quaint, tree-lined neighborhood north of A st and east of 5th Ave. Named for the famous El Cortez Hotel, which has been in place since 1927, Cortez Hill is quickly becoming a desirable place to live.

Over the last 10 years, Cortez Hill has attracted some of San Diego’s biggest name developers. Big time San Diego developer BOSA Developments built the Discovery complex, while Australian Developers Anka Property Group (Alta, Atria) finished their ARIA complex back in 2008. According to Civic San Diego, Cortez Hill has a couple of rental and low-income housing developments scheduled for the near future. Good news for future homeowners, the ALOFT project, a former Oliver Macmillan rental complex, is now converting their units into condo sales.

Most Cortez Hill San Diego homeowners love the fact that Cortez Hill is located just a short walk from the Gaslamp, Petco Park, and Little Italy. The central location appeals to homeowners that like to be close to the action, without living right in the middle of it. Tweet Street park up on Date St between 7th and 10th is a local oasis for dog owners and kids. Cortez Hill residents also enjoy the area F parking pass privilege, allowing them to park on the streets without paying the meters all day.

For more information about Cortez Hill, visit our neighborhood page here. We look forward to helping you find your home here in Downtown San Diego.

See What’s in Store for Downtown San Diego’s Waterfront


Living in Downtown San Diego is an amazing experience.  Part of the value of the lifestyle that comes with owning a condo or loft in Downtown San Diego is being centrally located to some of San Diego’s best attractions:  The San Diego Bay, Petco Park, The New Central Library, The Gaslamp, and the Convention Center.   For those of us who live here…and for those who visit, we are always on the look out for new ideas and new projects that will improve our community in Downtown San Diego.   Modeled after the iconic Highline on Manhattan’s West Side, Downtown San Diego’s Waterfront may soon have an equally inspired “green space”.  We first heard of the idea on the blog for VisitSanDiego.COM last month.  In a post Entitled: Rooftop Park Will Energize San Diego’s Waterfront, they describe how a brand new “urban” playground is being planned for San Diego’s Downtown waterfront. Locals and visitors alike will not only be able to enjoy panoramic bay and city views but also Events, Festivals, Art, and a Relaxing Garden from this 5 acre roof top outdoor park to be built on top of the Convention Center expansion.

“The five-acre rooftop park will enhance public access to the bay by creating inviting and interactive spaces for all to enjoy. Allowing for events of all sizes, the 350-seat, 5,000 sf Pavilion area will feature a main stage, while the adjacent Great Lawn will accommodate more than 4,500 concert and event-goers. Other defined spaces of the park will include a central gathering area with shade and benches known as the Living Room.”

When constructed (Set to break ground in early 2015), this rooftop gem will be one of the largest park areas in Downtown, and will bring the south-western area (Marina Park South) of Downtown San Diego’s waterfront alive. Enjoy a perfect 70 degree sunny day with the city skyline as your back drop and the wind in your hair. Just another way to enjoy our beautiful city.


Mortgage Rates | Gaylord-Hansen Mortgage Team

Lately, we’ve had many of our Downtown San Diego condo buyers asking us about the recent change in mortgage rates. Thank you to the Gaylord-Hansen Mortgage Team for providing this weekly update video. Special thanks to the team for the shout out to the 92101 Urban Living Blog as well.

For more information about current mortgage rates for Downtown San Diego home buyers, feel free to contact us. We look forward to helping you find your home.

Top Grossing San Diego Conventions

Before there were Downtown San Diego condos and lofts there was the Convention Center.  The Convention Center was the catalyst for all the residential development in Downtown San Diego.  It set the foundation for all the infrastructure that would eventually support the lifestyle for the future owners of Downtown condos and lofts.   The convention center would provide the original patrons of Horton Plaza, The Gaslamp, Seaport Village, and all the hotel space in Downtown.  Today the San Diego Convention Center is one of the top Five grossing locations in the US.  It is also one of the most popular destinations for attendees and visitors.  After all, who would not want a trip to San Diego for business and a little bit of pleasure on the side?

In 2014, it is estimated that the San Diego Convention Center will host over 111 events.  These events will bring just under 900k visitors and are estimated to generate $1.4 Billion in revenues for the San Diego region ($606 Million in attendee direct spending and $20.6 Million in Tax Revenue).  Attendance and events are growing each year.  In fact, it is estimated that 2014 will be the year that the convention attendance returns to the 2008 totals before the national economy experienced it’s challenges.

In a recent blog on the San Diego Convention center website, they posted an interesting blog comparing the top 5 grossing San Diego Conventions.   Comic-Con was by far the largest contribution with an estimated 130k Attendees and $78.3 Million in direct spending.   The American Association for Cancer Research, Environmental Systems Research Institute, The American Thoracic Society, and Experimental Biology rounded out the rest of the top five.

San Diego Conventions in 2014

Top Five Reasons to Buy a San Diego Loft vs a San Diego Condo

San Diego Loft Living Space

Urban Living spaces are always divided into several different styles.  When considering the purchase of a condo in Downtown San Diego, a buyer will always have the decision between a loft or traditional condo space. Because of a very distinct set of characteristics, Loft spaces work for some buyers but not everyone.   For those who consider San Diego loft spaces, there are always 5 top reasons that support this decision.

1. Style: The coolness of a loft space is undeniable.  San Diego lofts always represent tons of style.  Modern, contemporary, retro styles are three big components of loft style.  These are represented in high ceilings, exposed concrete or piping, open space, and unique floor plans.

2. Open Space: Buyer who have lofts do not want to be confined to a traditional floor plan.   The sense of wide open space is something that all loft enthusiasts can agree upon.   Not having rooms built out in the traditional sense allows a San Diego loft to feel open and larger than the square footage number that it actually represents.

3. Windows: In real estate terms…windows mean access to natural light.  The vision of an open loft space is more often than not inclusive of big “floor to ceiling” windows.   The bigger the windows, the more “wow” factor the loft will have.  Walls of windows contribute to the sense of open space that a loft will represent.

4. Higher Ceilings: In a traditional condo, ceiling heights can be as low as 8 feet.   In a San Diego Loft, ceiling heights are increased to 10 feet, 11 feet, and sometimes 14 feet and above.  High ceilings allow for a “grande feeling” of space…they can make a smaller space feel larger.  You don’t feel as confined when living in a space with elevated ceilings.

5. Opportunity to Design your Own Space: The fun aspect of open space is making the important decisions of how you will layout your home.  The ability to make these decisions and design your personal living space will always be a component of value for a San Diego Loft.  Anytime you have an opportunity to add a personal element to your living space…it feels more like home.

92101 Urban Living is a team of Realtors who specialize in helping buyers find their perfect San Diego loft.  Click Here to view all the current Downtown San Diego Lofts for sale.   Please let us know if you have any questions or want to set up a viewing of any loft spaces Downtown.

Featured Downtown San Diego Condo Rental | 1025 Island Ave #303

Downtown_San_Diego_Condo_RentalIt’s safe to say that we, here at 92101 Urban Living, love the Fahrenheit building in Downtown San Diego’s East Village. The Fahrenheit condo complex was developed back in 2006 by Citymark Development, just across the street from it’s sister property, M2i. Located on Island Ave between 10th and 11th Ave, Fahrenheit is perfectly located for anyone looking to be down in the midst of the action. Just steps away from Petco Park, the Gaslamp, Thomas Jefferson Law School, and the new Central Library, Fahrenheit is a walkers dream.

The building was built with a very industrial flair. Just looking at the exterior of the building, you’ll notice the exposed concrete and orange “train car” siding. Inside, the units keep that same approach with exposed concrete walls, exposed HVAC and fire sprinklers, and no wall/open loft units.

This specific Downtown San Diego condo rental, unit 303, is one of the few in the building that features a true 2 bedroom layout. This home is a two story town-home looking north out over Island Ave. As you enter, you see both bedrooms in a dual master suite set-up. The new carpet and paint look great and the larger of the two bedrooms features a fantastic floor-to-ceiling accent window providing great urban scenery. Up the exposed iron stairs is the living area. Hardwood floors, exposed concrete and piping help the unit keep its “modern loft” feeling. The modern kitchen features stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and an upgraded tile back splash. Located off of the living area is a nice balcony over-looking Island Ave, which adds extra square footage for entertaining and/or relaxing.

This Downtown San Diego condo rental also comes with in-unit washer and dryer and 1 assigned parking space in the gated, underground garage. The rental price of $2,400/mo includes basic utilities such as: water, sewer, trash, and gas.

For more information about this featured Downtown San Diego condo rental, please feel free to contact us anytime. Also, visit our Rentals page to view the rest of our available inventory.

Downtown San Diego Condo Review: Broker Caravan April 3rd

In this weeks Downtown San Diego Condo Review…there were 4 great Units to view ranging from $545k all the way up to $2MM Plus.   Two of the opportunities on Caravan this week were actually Columbia District Luxury Condos, along with an East Village Loft at M2i.   This is the time of year we consider the buying season for a Downtown San Diego Condo.   Over the next couple of months we really expect to see the inventory rise and many new Downtown Condos hit the market.

Electra CondoElectra #1904
One of the best buildings in Downtown… This 19th floor 2BR condo offers beautiful bay and city views. Spacious layout with hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows, fireplace, and 2 balconies to enjoy the San Diego sunshine.

Listing courtesy of Gerry Burchard of Willis Allen.




Grande CondoGrande N #804
1BR condo in the luxury high rise Grande Towers located in the Columbia District Downtown. Spacious floor plan with cherry wood flooring, gas fireplace, lots of windows, private balcony, and panoramic city views. Walking distance to the North Embarcadero Waterfront.

Listing courtesy of John Husar of Berkshire Hathaway.




M2i Loft Unit 202

This condo was absolutely charming! Located in the East Village area of Downtown, this is a 1BR/2BA corner unit with floor to ceiling windows down both sides of the home and boasting of city views. Concrete 11ft ceilings and pillar add lots of character. Porcelein tile flooring throughout. Open and easy for entertaining. One thing I really liked about this particular condo is that each room had unique angles to it especially walking down the hallway. It simply felt amazing spending time in this place!

Listing courtesy of Jorge Verdugo of City Consulting Group.

Brickyard #602
Located in the Marina District, this three story 3BR/4BA brick home transports you back to the east coast. Ceilings soar to the top floor in the main living area and the sunlight and blue skies stream in. French doors open out to the grassy yard, garden, and patio. The staircase and 2nd floor hallway metal railings open up the entire first floor. The kitchen is stunning with top of the line appliances. Lovely tile flooring on main level of the home. There is an additional room with separate bath which has its own private entrance.

Listing courtesy of Marie Huff of Berkshire Hathaway.

Promoting Downtown San Diego Real Estate on the Craig Sewing Radio Show

Downtown San Diego Real estate

The life of a Downtown San Diego broker is busy to say the least. In order to be successful in this business and in this competitive market in Downtown, we have to “out work” our competition. However, one of the most rewarding and exciting things for me is when I have an opportunity to promote Downtown San Diego Real Estate and the 92101 Urban Living Brand. Thanks to our partners at Foundation Escrow, I am grateful to say I had that opportunity today on the Craig Sewing Radio show (1170 AM). Craig is the founder of the Nationally Syndicated Real Estate Radio Network and acts as a consumer advocate for San Diego Real estate.

Since Craig lives in Downtown himself, the conversation naturally led to some of the reasons we love living here. We are no different than our clients searching for that unique Southern California urban lifestyle. A benefit when we start working with a client is that the choice of lifestyle is usually already decided before we even have contact. It is very rare to get a client wavering between their preference of say: a beach lifestyle or an urban one. One of the most unique aspects of the lifestyle that we discussed, was how the attraction of an urban and downtown lifestyle can transcend age. I always like to say there is always a little something for everyone in Downtown San Diego: A trip to the Childrens Discovery Museum for my kids, the opportunity for great nightlife in the Gaslamp, and long walks along the bay front for mature and retired couples. I am grateful everyday for this experience to live and work Downtown. It is always my pleasure to share with those interested, what a great opportunity it is to live the way we do. Also on today’s show Craig and I were able to touch on several other topics which included: New Construction, Chargers Stadium, Issues with Litigation, and finally inventory levels as we approach the buying season for Downtown Condos.  Hit play to hear the full segment below:

Thank you again Craig and Foundation Escrow for such a wonderful opportunity today. Hope to do it again very soon.

Neighborhood Spotlight | Columbia San Diego

Columbia_san_diegoThis is part 4 of 6 in our “San Diego Neighborhood Spotlight Series.” Click here for part 1 on the Marina District, click here for part 2 on the East Village, and here for part 3 on Little Italy San Diego.

Nestled just below Little Italy and just above the Marina is one of Downtown San Diego’s newest distinct neighborhood, the Columbia neighborhood. Columbia San Diego is a small residential area located between Columbia St and San Diego Bay. Made up of some of San Diego’s most luxurious condo complexes, Columbia San Diego has quickly gained reputation, among Downtown residents with disposable income, as an up and coming living area. One of Downtown’s smallest residential areas, Columbia San Diego features just 5 residential living options: Bayside, The Grande, Electra, Sapphire Tower, and TREO.

Many of our Downtown San Diego residents praise the Columbia neighborhood for its close proximity to everything that Downtown has to offer. Centrally located just a short walk away from the India St strip of Little Italy and a $3 cab ride to the Gaslamp, Columbia San Diego is close to the party, without being right in the middle of it. Visitors to San Diego are probably familiar with Columbia as well, as the Santa Fe Depot train and trolley station are located on Kettner, right in the heart of Columbia San Diego.

I would be selling it short if I wrote about the Columbia neighborhood and did not mention the progress of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. The NEVP is an ongoing project to help beautify Downtown San Diego’s waterfront space. So far, phase one is underway with some public park space being added on Ash and Pacific Hwy, as well as a new public park down in the Marina near Seaport Village. This project will continue through 2014 and into 2015. Stay tuned for more updates.

For more information on Columbia San Diego, visit our neighborhood page. To view the rest of our Downtown San Diego condo inventory, please visit our condos page. We look forward to helping you find you home.

Costs of Buying a Condo in Downtown San Diego

condo in donwtown san diego When you begin your search for a Condo In Downtown San Diego, one of the most important aspects of the process is understanding all of the costs involved.   Obviously, the “Purchase Price” of the condo is the primary focus of any buyers attention.  However…there are many secondary and hidden fees that can add to overall “Costs” of the purchase.   At 92101 Urban Living, we always help our buyers organize the fees and costs that are paid thru the escrow and the fees that are paid direct.  Fees that are paid thru escrow may include:  Escrow fees, Title fees, Homeowners Insurance, HOA Fees, Lender or Loan Origination costs, etc.   Escrow fees are classified as either “Recurring or Non-Recurring”.   The easy way to remember the difference is determining which are “one time” cost and which costs continue with home ownership.  For example: Escrow and Title fees are one time fees for the transaction and labeled Non-Recurring.  Things like HOA fees and property taxes obviously continue throughout home ownership and would be considered “recurring”.  Fees that are paid direct by the buyer in a real estate transaction include:  Appraisal, Home Inspection, any additional elected inspections.

-Buyers Agent:  This cost is FREE to a buyer.  Technically, the Seller pays the commission cost of the Buyers agent.

-Earnest Money Deposit: Until the removal of contingencies, the Earnest Money Deposit is a fully refundable deposit.  It becomes part of the down payment when the buyer removed contingencies and decides to move forward with the purchase.

-Home Inspection: It is the buyers right to enter the property and perform a Home Inspection.  This is always good money spent, as the home inspection is used to determine the quality and condition of the condo.

-Appraisal: The lender always requires a value appraisal of the condo in order to secure financing.

-Elected Inspections:  Elected Inspections are those done above an beyond a traditional home inspection.  They can include: Plumbing, roof, foundation, termite, etc.  With regard to purchasing a condo in Downtown San Diego, these inspections are rarely part of the the transaction.

-Transaction Coordinator: There is a ton a paperwork in a traditional real estate transaction.  It is always good to have a professional to help organize and prepare these documents for review and signature.

-Lender Fees/Loan Origination: Some of the highest additional cost involved with a purchase fall into this category.  The costs of getting a loan can be as high as 1% to 1.5% of the

-Pro-Rated HOA Fees:  Usually, the prorated HOA fees in addition to the first month of payments to the HOA.   This way…a buyer will not have to worry about a payment until the second month.

-Home Owners Insurance:  Always a cost of Home Ownership.  The good news when purchasing a condo in Downtown is that a significant portion of the condo “master policy” is paid monthy in the HOA fees.  As a result…Home owners insurance for a condo purchase is significantly less.

-Escrow Fees: Per common practice in San Diego, these fees are split by the buyer and the seller equally.

-Title Insurance:  This is only a buyer cost when a loan is involved.  The buyer will purchase title insurance for the lender on the condo.

-Property Taxes:  A recurring closing cost, the property taxes are based on the purchase price.   A condo in Downtown San Diego will have property taxes of about 1.25%

-Recording Fee:  The cost to record the property deed.




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