San Diego Business Journal

As the city of San Diego gets busy updating the community plans for neighborhoods such as Mission Valley, it will also be searching for its next top planning official.

Current Planning Director Bill Fulton, a noted national expert in smart urban growth, informed the city that he is resigning from the post to take a position at Rice University in Houston.

Fulton, who was named the city’s chief planner in June 2013, will be leaving the planning director job on Aug. 30, according to a memo to the City Council from David Graham, the city’s deputy chief operating officer. The planning department is the city’s central development permitting agency, although project approvals are overseen by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Fulton will be the new director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, effective this fall, the university said in a statement. The Kinder Institute was established in 2010 with a $15 million gift to Rice University from Kinder Morgan CEO Rich Kinder and his wife Nancy. The institute houses several urban research programs, including the Houston Area Survey.

Graham said the city of San Diego will begin a national search to fill the planning director post, and he will be notifying the City Council on whether an interim appointment is required.

Fulton is a former mayor of Ventura and a nationally known urban planning expert. He wrote the textbook “Guide to California Planning” and co-authored “The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl” with fellow urban planning consultant Peter Calthorpe.

Fulton is also a former vice president at Smart Growth America, a think tank in Washington, D.C., that advocates for nonsprawl planning. And he taught urban planning at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.

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Large Apartment Development Coming to Oceanside: San Diego County’s red-hot apartment development market is not showing signs of slowing down. Among the latest announced projects in the works is Terraza, a 338-unit luxury apartment development planned in Oceanside.

Locally based Presidio Cornerstone Master LLC has bought a 28-acre parcel on the northwest corner of College Avenue and Old Grove Road for $25 million, according to brokerage company Colliers International.

The project will include high-amenity apartments, with one to three bedrooms, within the Rancho Del Oro master-planned community. Brokers said Terraza is the last remaining undeveloped residential site within Rancho Del Oro, and the property was sold by RDO Village Investment LLC.

“There is a scarcity of large, luxury multifamily development sites in the Highway 78 corridor,” said Colliers Senior Vice President Gunder Creager, who represented the buyer and seller with fellow Colliers brokers David Santistevan and Ciara Layne-Trujillo.

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Prebys Trust Adds to Apartment Portfolio: Conrad Prebys Trust, an investment entity named for the noted local businessman and philanthropist Conrad Prebys, has recently been active in buying up apartment properties around San Diego County.

Its newest holding is a portfolio of four buildings in El Cajon, totaling 94 units, which it recently bought for $12 million. The buildings are at 1019, 1037, 1038 and 1050 Peach Ave. and were built in the 1960s and 1970s, according to Dave Savage of brokerage firm Apartment Consultants Inc., who represented the buyer.

The portfolio was 98 percent occupied at the time of sale. The seller was Drake Carver Communities of San Diego.

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Mixed-Use Project Planned at Blockbuster Site: Point Village LLC has bought a former Blockbuster video store building and surrounding land in Point Loma for $3.15 million, with plans to build a new mixed-use project at the site.

The seller of the properties, at 1166-68 and 1180 Rosecrans St., was DaSilva Family Trust. The new owner plans to develop the parcels into a three-story, mixed-use project that would include 4,724 square feet of ground-floor retail space, with 16 residential units above the retail, according to local brokerage firm Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate.

Flocke & Avoyer’s Steve Avoyer and Matt Peckham represented the seller in the transaction, and the firm will be handling leasing for the retail portion of the new project. The buyer was represented by Salvatore DeMaria of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

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Hacienda Making New Home in Carlsbad: Diverse Culinary Ventures LLC has signed a 10-year lease for about $1.5 million for a planned Hacienda de Vega restaurant in Carlsbad, according to brokerage company CDC Commercial Inc.

The full-service Mexican restaurant is planned for a 6,640-square-foot space at 5806 Van Allen Way. Diverse Culinary Ventures currently operates a Hacienda de Vega restaurant in Escondido.

CDC’s Don Zech and Nick Zech represented the restaurant operator in the transaction. The landlords, Berdan Holdings LLC and Foxborough Park Inc., were represented by Kirk Allison and Vic Gausepohl of Colliers International.

Send commercial real estate and development news of general local interest to Lou Hirsh via email at lhirsh@sdbj.com. He can be reached at 858-277-8904.