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Real Estate Vacancy rates down, but rents up countywide



Kvaas Construction Merges With N.M.-Based Jaynes

Apartment rents are continuing to rise around San Diego County, according to a recent report by Hendricks & Partners.

San Diego County’s overall vacancy rate fell from 2.9 percent in third quarter 1999 to 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2000, said the nationwide real estate brokerage.

The average apartment rent increased 10.2 percent to $1,008 a month from $915 a month 12 months earlier as well.

By contrast, vacancies in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties held steady at about 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent respectively, the report said.

There may be some relief in sight for local tenants. Carol Hillestad, director of research for Burnham Real Estate Services of San Diego, anticipated rents might plateau soon.

“That’s because you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip,” she said.

“Instead of renting a one bedroom apartment, people are getting roommates for two bedroom apartments and sharing the cost,” Hillestad said. “That factor puts a ceiling on what landlords can charge for a studio or one bedroom.”

She said investors are now looking for older apartment buildings in less desirable areas that can be remodeled and re-rented at higher rates. There also aren’t that many luxury complexes on the market, she said.

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Merger: San Diego-based Kvaas Construction Co. merged earlier this month with Jaynes Corp., a regional general contractor based in Albuquerque, N.M.

The new entity, Kvaas Constructors Inc., will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Jaynes Corp., said Colleen London, director of marketing and business development for Kvaas.

Harold Kvaas, the company’s founder and president, will serve on the board of directors of the new company as vice chairman. Michael Scott has been appointed president, joining George Kvaas, vice president of operations and Kristin Lithopolis, vice president of finance.

The merger fulfills part of Jaynes’ strategic growth plans and provides an entry into the Southern California market, London said.

Kvaas has been a general contractor specializing in office, education, church and military construction in the San Diego area for the past 22 years. Jaynes Corp. currently operates across the southwestern United States with offices in Las Vegas, Farmington, N.M., Denver and Durango, Colo. Jaynes specializes in retail, high-tech office, health care, industrial, education and hospital construction.

Big Project: A partnership headed up by Lankford & Associates Inc., a San Diego-based real estate developer, has reached an agreement with the city of Yuma Municipal Property Corp. to build a city government complex.

The other partner in the project is C.W. Clark Inc. of La Jolla.

The agreement is the first step in the revitalization of Yuma’s city center and riverfront, said Robert V. Lankford, president and CEO of Lankford & Associates, earlier this month.

A 150,000-square-foot municipal office complex is being designed by Carrier Johnson, a San Diego-based architectural firm.

Hensel Phelps Construction of San Diego will be in charge of building the shell of the complex. Subcontractors include Hope Engineering, Southland Industries, Neal Electric, and Dahl Robbins Civil Engineering, all of San Diego.

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Bits & Pieces: Ninyo & Moore Geotechnical and Environmental Sciences Consultants has been retained to provide asphalt testing services for the city of Vista. Nine model homes are now open at 4S Ranch near Rancho Bernardo. The 2,900-acre master planned community is a project of Newland Communities of La Jolla. Bilbro Construction Co. finished 19,000 square feet of tenant improvements for PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP in Symphony Towers at 750 B St. in Downtown.

Send real estate and construction news to Grupe at agrupe@sdbj.com.

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