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Monday, February 27, 2006 | Vantage Pointe is slated to be one of downtown San Diego’s flagship developments. Situated at Ninth and 10th avenues and A and B streets in downtown’s Core neighborhood, the towering design will eventually hold 679 condos and 25,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Canadian developer behind the project, Pointe of View Developments, touts itself as “one of the largest multi-family builders in America,” and notes on its Web site that it has completed some 12,000 units in more than 40 projects.

But despite its successes, Pointe of View has had to weather some storms on its way to leaving its mark on San Diego’s skyline.

Last year, one of its projects in Calgary, Alberta was cited for “structural deficiencies,” and was identified by the local city inspectors as “under designed.” The company is now retroactively working to re-engineer that property, whose residents have had their temporary occupancy permits revoked.

Since coming south to San Diego from its home in Canada, the company has had its fair share of upsets.

Some of the initial investors in Vantage Pointe dropped out of the project 18 months after putting down their deposits when they saw the cost of their units increase significantly as the result of a redesign of the interior of the building. In at least one case, a purchaser had to cancel his contract after his condo increased in price by more than $100,000.

More recently, construction at Vantage Pointe has been held up for several weeks as Pointe of View’s structural engineers work with the city to obtain a foundations permit. Concerns that a sewage line that runs across one corner of the site could pose a future hazard to the building’s structural integrity have stopped work on the project in its tracks. Investors in the project, jittery at the lack of work being done on site in recent weeks, have been throwing around theories on an online message board that the project may never actually be built.

Another Pointe of View project slated for the East Village, Pacific Pointe, has also been put on hold while the developers try to figure out what to do about a Victorian-era building on the site that was recently designated as worthy of preservation for historical purposes.

Randy Klapstein, Pointe of View’s CEO, said the current delays at Vantage Pointe have nothing to do with other setbacks his company has had. Furthermore, he said that any speculation that the building will not be built is simply ridiculous.

“I’ve spent well over $40 million down there, and we’re not going anywhere but up” Klapstein said.

Klapstein explained that the price increases that some of the Vantage Pointe buyers found themselves faced with were due to design changes made to the original plans for the building. Due to architectural and structural issues, Pointe of View had to reconstruct some of the building’s floor plan, he said. As a result, some people saw their condos increase in size. That increase had to be paid for somehow, he said, and it had to be paid for at a higher price per square foot to represent the increase in construction costs.

“We felt that was the only fair way to go,” Klapstein said. “We gave them the option that they could go and move to something else, and we would honor that price on something that was similar to what they had.”

But investors like Beau Randall, who saw his condo shoot up in price from the $385,000 he reserved it at in March 2004, to $495,000 after the design changes in July 2005, said he was devastated when he had to drop out of Vantage Pointe. He said he had missed out on a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” and had also missed out on other projects that he could have bought into.

“I spent a year and a half of my life waiting for this project to move forward,” he said.

San Diego is not the first city where Pointe of View has run into difficulties, but past events seem to show that the company knows how to handle itself in a crisis and has a strong sense of corporate responsibility.

Klapstein said that the problems concerning Discovery Bay – the condo project with structural problems in Kelowna, British Columbia – had caused his company some grief. However, he stressed that those problems had no effect on Pointe of View customers in San Diego.

Klapstein said a structural engineer working on the Canadian project “didn’t do his job properly,” and that as a result, the 21-story condo unit had been “under-designed.”

An October 19 letter from the city of Kelowna’s Inspection Services Division to residents of the building warns about the issues with the building, and states that the city is revoking the temporary occupancy permits that residents had been issued.

“It has been reported that the foundations of both the parking structure and the residential building are under designed; that is that the foundations do not comply with the structural design requirements of the B.C. (British Columbia) building code,” reads the letter.

“In the event of a seismic event parts of the building may not be capable of bearing the weight of the structure,” the letter goes on to say.

Klapstein said his company is fixing the Kelowna problem, and that he has got engineers working to shore up the building by adding some extra supports, columns and beams.

Ron Dickinson, Inspection Services Manager with the city of Kelowna, said Pointe of View have done all that could be expected of them to make the building safe.

“There’s a problem and these guys have stepped up to the plate,” Dickinson said.

Construction work on Vantage Pointe is set to re-start by Wednesday, March 1, said Scott Kube, a manager of the project. As far as the smaller project, Pacific Pointe is concerned, Klapstein said they are still working on how to move the historic building that is standing in their way.

Asked if he wishes he had never come to San Diego to build condo projects, Klapstein remained upbeat.

“I think California’s a tough place to do business,” he said. “But we all know that, and we think it’s still worth doing.”

Please contact Will Carless directly at

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