Edit ModuleShow Tags

Oceanside Surfs the Boom


Published:

(page 1 of 3)

The scrolling numbers on John Benfield’s computer screen go on and on. House after house after house: SOLD. After 20 years in Oceanside real estate, Benfield knows a boom when it happens. And it’s happening. In spades.

The numbers: 1,622 single-family homes between January and mid-October in Oceanside. Average price: $234,874, up 12 percent from a year ago. Average time on the market: 37 days. Three years ago, sales were a quarter of what they are now, and houses stayed on the market about six months—at average prices way under $200,000.

The Century 21 office where Benfield works looks out over Mission Avenue and Pacific Highway, in the heart of old Oceanside. Even though the view is the same as it’s been for decades, Benfield is optimistic the promises will be met for a new, grand panorama. “If you can see past that tweaker [drug addict] coughing up a syringe, you can see the ocean and it’s great,” he says. “Seriously, they [the city] have stuff going up here that’s big-time. I would say there is no street, no intersection, no alleyway that hasn’t shown signs of real improvement.”

Benfield’s comments reflect the sort of defensive reflex you notice when the locals talk about their town, now the third largest in San Diego County. It’s an attitude that says, “Yeah, we’ve had a bad rap, some of it deserved, for years. But that is O-V-E-R.” Oceanside is practically using fire hoses to wash off its muddy image, which got so bad Camp Pendleton troops were being warned by Marine Corps brass to steer clear.

There is, of course, the much-discussed $120 million resort developer Doug Manchester has been planning along some of Oceanside’s scruffy but prime real estate on the bluffs overlooking Oceanside Pier—land that’s been vacant for 20 years. Some saw Manchester’s proposal as a land grab of beach-side public property. His revised plan for a downsized 450-room hotel gets some opponents off his back. The compromise in the redevelopment plan—forged because the Coastal Commission staff had made loud noises about turning Manchester down—also puts construction of 150 nearby condominiums into the hands of local developer Jim Watkins.

Manchester Resorts senior vice president Pete Litrenta says his boss is anxious to build something much different than the convention-oriented hotels he’s built along San Diego Bay. He says Manchester plans to be intimately involved in building a five-star resort to take advantage of Oceanside’s beaches and new transit center, already open where the old train station used to be.

But the battle is not over. Opponents say Manchester’s revisions aren’t enough. “Everyone here wants a hotel east of Pacific Street, which means east of Pacific, not on it,” says Shari Mackin of Citizens for the Preservation of Parks and Beaches, complaining about a proposed street closure. More legal battles are ahead for this one.

Mackin says Oceanside’s economic boom can continue with or without Manchester. The city, she says, has “seemed to find a balance for families and tourism and the military. We welcome with open arms development that’s going to be good for the city and for the people who live here.”

She cites the new restaurants and stores that are opening, and thriving, in a downtown that’s been crawling along the comeback trail. But Mackin is one of those who worries that the best parts of old Oceanside will be wiped out along with the worst. And she promises to remain vigilant.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

67 San Diego Holiday Traditions You Don't Want to Miss

'Tis the season for fa-la-la fun in San Diego

How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

From holiday tables to festive fireplaces—here's how to deck the halls like a pro

25 Holiday Getaway Ideas for Every Climate

Our favorite travel destinations for escaping the cold—or embracing it
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of Baja 2016
    46 ways to relax, dine, drink, and play the Mexico way
  2. Stop Killing Restaurants, California
    Raising minimum wage without a tip credit is dumb, dumb, dumb.
  3. Vintage San Diego: How Our City Has Changed Since 1876
    Before bottleneck traffic and the modern housing crisis, San Diego was a swath of undeveloped land, horse-drawn carriages, and dairy farms
  4. FIRST LOOK: Campfire
    Carlsbad gets one hell of a new concept in Campfire from Craft & Commerce vet John Resnick
  5. Why Our Veterans Keep Quiet About Their Service
    From misconceptions about the military to reticent heroism, San Diego veterans share the many reasons they often keep mum about their service
  6. San Diego Magazine's Travel Awards
    Cast your vote now for your favorite hotels, travel companies and attractions
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

CraftHounds - Craft Beer Delivery in San Diego

Craft Beer Delivery - The Best Gift Ever?

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags