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Structures

Nationwide investment in construction projects is picking up as the general economy recovers, and San Diego

County is reflecting that trend.

A recent report by brokerage company Cassidy Turley noted that the U.S. has seen about $149 billion in office, industrial, residential and retail projects started since early 2011.

Volume is still not be back to pre-recession levels, however, as those projects have only partially made up for the $237 billion national drop in dollar value that occurred over the three years starting in early 2008.

Bolstered largely by new construction of apartments and single-

family homes, the nation’s construction market is now 63 percent recovered from the Great Recession, according to Cassidy Turley. Apartment and industrial projects are carrying much of the load, with the retail and office segments still relatively sluggish.

Local signs of recovery include a spate of new apartments underway in places like downtown San Diego, Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa. New office towers and shopping centers remain scarce, though there is plenty of renovation happening at local office campuses, hotels and retail properties.

House and apartment construction continues at the mixed-use, multiphase Civita in Mission Valley, and early signs of building activity are sprouting in long-discussed developments like Millenia in Chula Vista and North City near San Marcos.

Holding true with a trend of the past four years, much of the recent new construction in San Diego County involves buildings that can’t be bought, sold or occupied by investors or general business tenants. Those include hospitals, education facilities, government and military buildings.

The local region had more than $1.3 billion worth of residential and nonresidential construction projects in the pipeline at the end of the first quarter, up 39 percent from a year ago, according to data services provider McGraw Hill Construction.

Here’s a sampling of large new San Diego County construction projects completed in the past year and currently underway.

Office Buildings

Irvine Co., the local region’s largest holder of office properties, began construction earlier this year on its $100 million One La Jolla Center, a 15-story, 306,000-square-foot office tower that will also be the third building at its La Jolla Center campus in University Towne Center.

Set for completion by mid-2015, it’s a rarity in the local market not only because it’s a new high-rise office tower, but also because it’s being built on speculation, with tenants to be announced.

The high-demand UTC market also saw the recent completion of developer Hines’ new 13-story tower at La Jolla Commons, now fully occupied by LPL Financial.

In downtown San Diego, locally based Cisterra Development has begun preliminary work on the East Village site where it plans to build a 16-story, 300,000-square-foot tower that will house the new corporate headquarters of

Sempra Energy in 2015.

Sempra plans to move from its current downtown headquarters building on Ash Street.

Hotels

A partnership that includes San Diego

developer Lankford & Associates Inc. recently broke ground on a $130 million, 400-room hotel project on the downtown site of the former Lane Field ballpark.

It will be a dual-branded building housing Marriott’s Springhill Suites and Residence Inn brands, set for completion by early 2016.

An improving tourism economy has also propelled other hotel projects forward in and near downtown. T2 Development has a dual-branded, 364-room hotel under construction off Pacific Highway, and Sunroad Enterprises recently received approvals for a 175-room hotel at Harbor Island.

Apartments

Downtown San Diego has multiple big and small projects under construction that will bring around 2,000 new apartments to the local market. Among the largest is the $150 million, 45-story Pinnacle Towers, being built by Canada’s Pinnacle International Development Inc., which by itself will have 965 units when completed in 2015.

In Mira Mesa, construction is nearing completion on the 1,800-unit, $175 million Casa Mira View Apartments off Interstate 15, where locally based Garden Communities LLC broke ground in 2011 and has been building apartments and related amenities in multiple phases.

Alliance Residential Co. has a 360-unit apartment complex under construction off Aero Drive in Kearny Mesa. Phoenix-

based Alliance recently completed the 200-unit Broadstone Little Italy in downtown San Diego.

Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente recently broke ground and trucks are in motion on what is now one of the largest ongoing construction projects in the San Diego region — a $900 million hospital campus off Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa. The 19-acre project will include a seven-story, 565,000-square-foot care facility, a 1,400-space parking structure and a healing garden when completed in 2017.

Earlier this year, officials at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near Oceanside marked the opening of a new $456 million, 500,000-square foot hospital that replaced an older facility at Lake O’Neill.

Civic Projects

The second half of 2013 saw completion of several large facilities serving the entire region. They included the nine-story, $185 million Central Library in downtown San Diego, considered a key component of an ongoing renaissance in East Village.

In August, workers at San Diego International Airport wrapped up the four-year, $900 million Green Build, the largest project in the airport’s history. Officials said work was completed on time and $45 million under the project’s original budget, as the airport added 10 passenger gates, a dual-level roadway, expanded security and ticketing facilities, and several new dining venues, with other energy-efficient amenities.

Currently under construction at the airport is a $316 million rental car facility, set for completion in 2015.

Completed in late 2013 was the third phase of the $500 million County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa, developed by Lowe Enterprises and also among the region’s largest ongoing construction projects of recent years.

The 47-acre campus now has five buildings housing county agencies, most recently adding a new 118,500-square-foot headquarters for the Registrar of Voters.

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