Welcome to San Diego Blog | April 28, 2010

Downtown San Diego Luxury Condos

With the current San Diego real estate market trends, there have not been many sales on luxury condos in San Diego above $1.5 million for the past 12 months.  As a matter of fact, there have only been 8 sales in the past 12 months and there is over 4 years of inventory.  Given this market dynamic,  it presents some amazing opportunities for those with the resources to purchase a luxury condo in the $1.5-3m price range.


In the last 12 months, the only buildings that have had successful sales in this luxury condo category are Bayside, Electra, The Grande, Harbor Club, Park Place, Pinnacle and Sapphire Tower.   All of these condo complexes fall into the luxury condo category, but there are certainly standouts amongst the group.

The Top 5 Luxury Condos Downtown San Diego

I frequently get asked the question, “which downtown San Diego condo complex is your favorite?”  This question is very difficult because many of these buildings have wonderful attributes, but they all have a few weak points as well.  I am going to rank the top 5 luxury condos in downtown San Diego based on my own personal opinion and taste.  If you disagree with me, please voice your opinion and let me know why you feel your choice should be in the top 5 luxury buildings for condos Downtown San Diego.

02 front1.  Pinnacle Museum Tower – The Pinnacle, in my opinion, is The Best overall condo complex in Downtown San Diego.  What  makes Pinnacle the best building is its location, 10.5′ ceiling heights, floor to ceiling windows, well designed floor plans, exquisite amenities and spectacular views.   The developer’s interior finishes are nicer than most other buildings standard finishes, but I see Pinnacle as a great pallet for the remodels that all condo buildings will eventually undergo.  The ceiling heights really are something special that we will never see out of a Bosa building.  The pool is olympic length, there is plenty of space for sunbaithing, and amenities include sauna, steam, fitness room, theater, ammenity room with catering kitchen, guest suite and outdoor BBQ area.  The negative side of Pinnacle – sharing parking with the Children’s museum can sometimes be frustrating for owners.

2. Bayside  – Bayside has exceptional ammenties including a wine room, movie theater, lounge, kitchen, conference center, library and more.  The interiors are by far the highest quality Bosa has built in San Diego.  I could buy in this building and be happy with the kitchen as delivered for at least a few years.  The Snaidero cabinets are both fashionable and functional and the cesar stone countertops are a nice touch.  I like the location because it is close enough to Little Italy for restaurants and entertainment and will benefit from the development of the new park at the County Administration Building as well as the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan.    The floorplans are the best designed floorplans we have seen in any Bosa Building to date and views on the north and northwest side of the building will remain protected.

3. Sapphire Tower The location and ammenities at Sapphire Tower are not as luxurious as some of the other condo buildings, however, the large floorplans on the upper levels were well designed.  For the buyer that wants to be private and not spend time in common areas with their neighbors, the top levels offer their own private elevator entrances, 10’4″ ceilings with floor to ceilings windows and amazing views.  The kitchens and bathrooms are well appointed and the developer used carpeting that most buyers just tore out in order to add their own wood or marble floors.  These top floors feature 2801-2976 sq/ft and are very open with minimal pillars or view obstructions.  The building is unique and caters to the luxury buyer that is looking for a great home in the sky, but is not needing a full service building that is amenity rich.

4. Electra – The amenities at Electra are truly spectacular.  It is the tallest residential tower in downtown and is in a relatively good location.  The floorplans at Electra are not as well designed as Pinnacle, Bayside or Sapphire Tower, but the views and ammenites are enough to captivate any audience.  The interior finishes are not ultra luxury quality, but I see Electa as one of those buildings that will get better with time.  Give it a few years and many owners will tear out the standard kitchens and will replace them with something exceptional.

5. Park PlacePark Place sits on a wonderful location conducive to excellent views because it is located at the tip of the pininsula in downtown San Diego.  It has bay views to both the south and to the west.  The building has an architectural design that you either love or hate, but I think it has a classy look.  The floorplans are a little on the small side until you get to the upper floors, but there are some residences with spectacular decks and terraces.  The interiors feature wood floors, traditional cabinets, fireplaces and thoughtfully layed out floorplans.  The only downside to Park Place is that the Views to the direct west are blocked by the Embassy Suites until you get above the 19th floor.  Park Place will direclty benefit from the redevopment of the Old Police Headquarters located accross the street and will definitly be happy when the quiet zone project is all finished up.

The close runners up for luxury downtown San Diego Condos

1. Harbor Club – Outstanding location, fabulous amenities and good floorplans.  I wanted to include Harbor Club in my top 5 picks, but I am 6’4″ tall and the ceiling heights are too low for my taste.  The ceilings are 8′, but the sophits drop down to 7′ in front of all of the view windows and I just can’t get over it.  Again, it is a wonderful building, but from a “giraff’s” perspective, it just doesn’t feel like the Pinnacle or Sapphire Tower.

2. The Meridian –  Good location, great ammenities, but the building just feels dated.  The Meridian is definitely exquisite and I love the valet parking for unlimited guests,the many guest suites and “full service” feel.  However, the majority of the floorplans are choppy and the kitchens are very small and disconnected from the living spaces.  The Meridian does have a lot of potential for remodeling that could make it one of the best buildings in San Diego.  The downside is that the balconies are relatively small and the windows are single pane glass and are not floor to ceiling so the views are not as stunning as some of the other buildings.

The Mark – Until the East Village experiences further develpment, it is hard to consider it the home of an ultra luxury condo building.  I like the cool and hip East Village vibe, but don’t consider it the land of luxury.  Howerver, The Mark is a nice building and the upper levels have 10′ ceiling heights with larger floor plans and large window panes for exceptional views.  The Mark lacks a community room, but the pool, jacuzzi and fitness center are all exceptional quality.

The Legend– A baseball fans dream come true!!  I love the building and the location, but again not sure that it exudes luxury.  It is definitely one of the nicest buildings in the East Village, but I still don’t think of the EV as the land of luxury.

The Metropolitain – Great floorplans, dazzling views and good size.  The finishes are of the highest quality in all of 92101.  For me, the Metropolitain still retains the feel of a hotel so it doesn’t have that welcome feel.   I don’t know that I would want to spend $2m and have all of the baseball fan running around all over inside my building.  The Metropolitian is undoubtebly a beautiful building, but for me it is not in the top 5 because of location at Petco Park and it does not seem very exclusive.

The Grande – Very nice, but after seeing Bosa Buildings year after year, I just don’t think it is top 5 material for the most luxurious condos in San Diego’s Downtown.  The location at The Grande will be better once the Columbia district undergoes all of the future develpment with the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, Lane Field, and the county adminsitration park.  The Grande is a wonderful place to own, but is not the best downtown has to offer.

Horizons – One of the most central locations in Downtown, but the building interior feels dated and it is only 9 years old.  Horizons is a fabulous place to own a condo, but is not comparable to the top 5 buildings above with regard to interior quality and ammenities.  Horizon’s has breathtaking views, great architectural design and close proximity to all of the entertainment downtown offers.

Remember, this is my personal opinion and you are entitled to agree or disagree.  Share your thoughts on which buildings are the top 5 luxury condo category in downtown San Diego and share the reasons why you think so.  I look forward to any thoughts or comments.

Written by: chad

Categories: Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Real Estate, San Diego Real Estate

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