Welcome to the Editors Choice page, this is where I (Mark Mills) your humble editor pick my favorite condo buildings in the Luxury, Mid Level and Entry Level segments of the market. These are the buildings I would buy in and ones I think most buyers should consider in their quest for a downtown San Diego condo.
Of course I am not the only one that thinks these condos are some of the best, so don’t be surprised if you see very few units listed for sale. If you are interested in one of the San Diego condo buildings below but don’t see a unit you like actively marketed for sale. Please tell me what floor plan and height in the building you are interested in and with over 10 years of living in and selling downtown condos I might be able to find an owner willing to sell their unit.
The Pacific Gate condominium tower is the only "Super Prime" building on the West coast. This building is part of a very elite collection of high rise residential towers throughout the world that meet an international standard of criteria relating to design, services, and amenities. Super prime real estate is targeted to ultra-high net worth individuals and viewed as a safe-haven trophy asset in currency stable countries. In one sentence, Super Prime buildings are very superior in many ways to the surrounding condo towers are always much more expensive as well.
Pacific Gate will be the newest residential high rise condo tower in downtown San Diego when its completed in December 2017. Prior to Pacific Gate being built the newest tower in downtown was built in 2009. Pacific Gate is more than just the highest quality of construction and finishes, it also has special and unique amenities not found in any other condo downtown that really elevates the lifestyle of the owners living there.
Everyone likes the Bayside condos in San Diego, especially after you have already looked at some of the other condos downtown. Bayside is the newest condo building in San Diego (summer of 2009) and also in the opinion of many, the highest quality building. Also the Bayside condominiums offer more amenities than any other building downtown, yet the monthly HOA fee is about average. Bayside also has very affordable starting prices for the luxury condo market, starting about $600,000.
One of the biggest reasons I chose the Bayside condos is because of the great bay views and the safety of those views. Bayside is the last high rise building going North along the waterfront and will always be the last because of the height limitations on the land going North because of the airport flight path. This means your views to the North will not be blocked. Also looking west at the Bay, the two Holiday Inn hotels in the front are already at the maximum height limit, so any bay view to the West will be preserved.
The Bayside condos are also one of the very few high rises in downtown where you can find a floor plan over 3,000 square feet. Bayside was built with the expectation of much high sales prices than they were eventually sold for, as the market softened during the 3 years of construction. Because of this, the Bayside condos will remain the highest quality building downtown for many years to come as any new developments will probably not be built to this high quality level given the expected sales prices.
The Metropolitan condos are one of my personal favorites because of their exclusivity, quality, views and location. There are only 36 condos in the building. You might recognize this building and know it as the Omni Hotel, as The Metropolitan condos occupy the top 10 floors of the building.
Most condo buyers prefer corner units, here at The Metropolitan, every condo is a corner unit, with only 4 units per floor. Starting on such a high floor (22) in the building assures every unit is going to have a great view, three of the four floor plans have great bay views. Ceilings heights are also higher than most with every unit having a 10’ ceiling. The building has first class amenities including the lowest concierge to resident ratio downtown.
The Metropolitan is also located at the Southern edge of the Gaslamp, close to many restaurants, art galleries, shops and a short walk to the bay and embarcadero. For the those busy executives The Metropolitan offers in room meal delivery service from the Omni hotel below as well as maid services. For baseball lovers or players there is a private sky bridge from building to the Petco Park baseball stadium across the street.
The interesting thing about The Mark condos is that it really falls into the luxury category in terms of quality and amenities, but because of its East Village (neighborhood) location prices are more in the mid level market category. You could say this is represents a good value and mix of quality and price.
The Mark is one of the better condos in San Diego that actually has a fair number of one bedrooms floor plans in the building, most of the better condominiums do not have any one bedroom floor plans. The Mark takes up an entire city block with a great center courtyard surrounded by townhomes on three sides and the tower has retail spaces at street level. The tower of The Mark is wrapped in glass and steel, a combination you won’t likely see again until prices rise significantly. One of the unique features at The Mark is a lot of one bedrooms have two parking spaces and 98% of the parking spaces are side by side, 2% tandem. The Mark also has the largest private storage rooms in the garage of any condo building in San Diego.
One of the things I like best about The Mark condos are the views from the 19th floor and up, this is where you really begin to see the playing field at Petco Park (Padres baseball stadium) as well as see over Petco and have a panoramic view of the bay and downtown skyline. Views from even the modestly high floors on the North side have panoramic city views with a lot of privacy as there is no other high rise tower for several blocks.
The Alta condominium is one of the more modern designed buildings in downtown San Diego. Built by an Australian developer it has very sleek lines and modern finishes. Each unit also has 10’ ceilings, which is rare for San Diego. The Alta condos are a rare combination of a high rise with a lot of amenities often only found in a luxury tower, with the exception of not having a staffed lobby attendant. This enables Alta to have a modest monthly home owners association (HOA) fee.
If you like panoramic views, Alta should be on your consideration list. The Alta condos are located on the most western block on the East Village, adjacent to the Gaslamp Quarter, which has strict height limitations on its buildings. From about the 8th floor and up you will have very panoramic views to the West as the next building over 6 stories is going to be about 7 long blocks away. The Alta condos are ideal for those wanting a great view, low HOA fees and to be close to the Gaslamp Quarter.
The Gaslamp City Square condos is where all the action is downtown, with several restaurants and shops in the ground floor retail spaces you only need to walk out your door for dinner and some new clothes. Gaslamp City Square is one of only two mid rise buildings in downtown that has a pool. This is a great second home location and makes a great rental with it easy name recognition.
Great prices for entry level units, one bedrooms around 750 square feet and two bedrooms around 1,000 sf. The monthly home owners association (HOA) fee is lower here than the surrounding buildings of similar size and quality plus here they have a pool and night time security guards. Another plus to this building is your guest can park under the building in the parking garage as the first level is public parking.
The La Vita condos take up an entire block consisting of one high rise tower, one mid rise tower and several townhomes all surrounding a central courtyard. La Vita is one of the few high rises in downtown that has a modest HOA fee because there is no staffed personnel on site such as a property manager, concierge or security guards. You can get some great bay views from La Vita, to the West and with no other high rises in line to the North, your north views go for miles. Amenities include pool, gym, modest club room, BBQs in the central courtyard and as well as a grass yard to play in. Located in the Little Italy neighborhood, many shops and restaurants just a short walk away, as well as the large Farmers Market on Saturdays.