Everyone condo shopper in San Diego wants their new condo to have a view, that’s a given, but what type of view is considered the best view? To most people a view of the San Diego bay (water view) is ideal with a city view a distant second place. One thing savvy buyers also take into consideration is the possibility of the view being blocked in the future. There are various types of water views and city views and the demand for the various views may surprise you.
First lets explore the water views. Some water views are limited to the San Diego Bay, while others if high enough will also have a view of the Pacific Ocean. Depending on where the building is in downtown San Diego, your view will vary dramatically depending on which floor you are on. If for example you are in the Marina District facing South, you will need to be on the 10th floor or higher to have a view of the water over the convention center. The buildings in the Marina District this applies to are the Horizons condos, Pinnacle condos, Cityfront Terrace condos, Renaissance condos and the Harbor Club condos.
In the Marina District and Columbia District buildings facing West these all have unobstructed water views now from anything but the lowest floors. However, that western water view will change dramatically over the next 10 years. The buildings that will be affected include, Pinnacle, Renaissance, Park Place, Electra, and the Grande condos. The western waterfront will undergo a massive construction project that will include several hotels, office buildings, etc that will obstruct the current unobstructed water views. However, there will still be view corridors as there currently are regarding the Southern water view (between the four hotels along the water). So in the end the western water views will be similar to the current southern water views.
What about city views? Almost every high rise condo building in downtown San Diego that has a great water view will also have great city views looking east. Be careful when picking out a unit as some buildings are so close that your view is obstructed by the building across the street. These are the hardest units to sell because everyone looking in a high rise building wants a great view so the discount you see on the price today relative to the prime view units will also be experienced when you go to sell the unit.
This leads me to the last category, what about buildings with both a great water view and a great city view. In choosing a condo in San Diego that has both views you need to be very careful because these buildings are often located in the middle of the city with the risk of more buildings blocking their water views. Fortunately there are very view lots left to build a high rise condo building on and those have already been spoken for and artist renderings are available for the future building. So there is not much mystery there, perhaps the only mystery is when will it actually get built.
Getting back to naming names, the buildings with the best water and city views from the same unit (not say a west facing unit and an east facing unit, but one unit) are The Mark Condominiums in the East Village. This also has one huge, huge bonus, a view directly in the playing field at Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play baseball. You have to be on roughly the 20th floor & up to get that view into the playing field. Another great choice of water and city views is the Electra condos, primarily the SE corner units.
In summary, here are the best buildings to buy a condo in San Diego if you want a great view in order. This list was written in 2009 but with a long term view out the next 10 years after future construction is built up.