Take a bow North Park
It’s nice to be noticed and when it is arguably the best newspaper in America, you have every right to take a bow.
So, North Park, could there have been a better way to wrap up 2009 than to have The New York Times say you been transformed “into one of San Diego’s most vibrant and diverse districts.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
In the last few years, the Times said, “young independent business owners” have been remaking North Park into San Diego’s most exciting new business district. The Times said these entrepreneurs have been drawn to North Park “by the cheap rents, manageable size and Art Deco and Craftsman architecture.”
The Times interviewed both Arne Holt, owner of Caffe Calabria, and Gustaf Rooth, an artist and founder of Ray at Night and Planet Rooth Studios Gallery.
Holt said, “the neighborhood has great bones” and that “there were a lot of really unique storefronts that just needed a little TLC. to make the community pop.”
Rooth said that “North Park went from being negative and dilapidated to suddenly this high-energy major destination point.”
The Times said the tipping point was the 2005 restoration and reopening of the Birch North Park Theatre, home of the Lyric Opera San Diego. North Park “soon became an unlikely mix of theater-goers, artists, sailors visiting from one of the city’s several naval facilities, and members of the prominent gay population.”
Jay Porter, who owns the farm-to-table Linkery, said “the cost of entry was low enough for people to take risks that couldn’t happen elsewhere,” adding that “businesses here reflect very personal visions and we’re all committed to a great urban experience.
A very good piece of news for this newspaper and more importantly, we believe, for readers of the North Park News, is that Tom Shess, its founder, and his wife, Phyllis, have agreed to return to lend a helping hand as we continue to look for ways to improve its content and relevance for you.
Tom and Phyllis founded North Park News in 1993 and West Coast Craftsman in 1997. In 2000, the Shess family sold North Park News. Now, after almost 10 years, they’re back after traveling and writing about homes all over the country.
You won’t want to miss Tom’s At Home piece with Ron Rooney in the West Coast Craftsman section of this month’s paper.
Dr. Lynn Reaser, the chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University, has joined a chorus of economists who believe that the latest recession ended with the second quarter of 2009.
This recession has been the deepest downturn, in the eyes of the Wall Street Journal, since the Great Depression.
Another bit of good news comes from the University of San Diego Economic Index which indicates that the county’s economic outlook in October improved for the seventh month in a row.
However, Alan Gin, USD’s economist who compiles the data for the university’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, believes the county will likely continue to lose jobs until the first half of 2010.
“The labor market will remain weak for the next few months,” Gin said.
Matt Battiata of the Battiata Real Estate Group says there will be a huge backlog of foreclosures hitting the market in 2010 which will continue to mean more depreciation for the San Diego housing market.
Yet, in North Park, an opposite sign was taking place in November. There was a significant increase in both home sales and price valuations compared to November, 2008. There were 45 sales compared to 28 and the medium price was $242,000, a 32.1 percent increase over November, 2008.
In Kensington and Normal Heights the number of home sales was the same in both Novembers but the medium price was down 14 percent to $270,000.
Home sale results were the reverse in October when 41 sales in Kensington and Normal Heights had a medium price of $328,500. North Park had 60 sales in October but with a medium price decline of 6.2 percent compared to October, 2008.
Overall county home sales in November were up as was the medium price by 6.6 percent to $325,000.
If there is any positive news in San Diego’s housing market it is that the county will have to lower property taxes which will be due in December, 2010. The State Board of Equalization estimates that county property taxpayers will see a 0.2 percent decline over this year. That’ll be a first! Property tax rates have not fallen since the voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978.
That’s it from here. It’s been an interesting and rewarding seven months since acquiring the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman and launching the Kensington News.
We look forward to building on our very special relationship with you and the generous, gracious and warm welcomes which we’ve received.
Happy New Year! – Bob Page