The New York Times has this article today on San Diego development and the role of Mayor Jerry Sanders has had in nurturing it.

It’s a bit of a head-scratcher actually. I’m still trying to make sense of it. The article singles out Thomas Sudberry’s Quarry Falls development in Mission Valley and the Liberty Station development (home to our offices) as examples of the city’s redevelopment efforts.

Here’s the gist:

Despite the national economic woes, the (Quarry Falls) project is among the redevelopment efforts moving forward in a city that began its own economic recovery under a new mayor, Jerry Sanders, in 2005.

Mr. Sanders, who inherited a city in financial crisis — its water and sewer systems deteriorating, its pensions underfunded and its municipal bond ratings low — has overseen a turnaround that has helped restore the city’s fiscal health and encourage new commercial and residential development, particularly in downtown areas that were havens for the homeless and deserted by most other citizens after dark.

The article credits the mayor with spurring downtown development, especially in the homeless areas. But the only two examples I see are the Quarry — again in Mission Valley — and Liberty Station in Point Loma. Both of these projects were well underway by the time Sanders stepped into office in December 2005 and aren’t downtown.

Downtown property values, in fact, have been decimated since Sanders took office. The price per square foot for a resale condo downtown has dropped 24.3 percent since the fourth quarter of 2005, according to MDA DataQuick.

I’m certainly not blaming him for it. But the general real estate market here has been in a tailspin since he took over as mayor. It’s not his fault. It’s just a fact.

The most notable thing to happen in downtown redevelopment under Sanders’ watch has likely been the Nancy Graham scandal and the negative consequences it had on major projects in the city’s urban core.

A cutline underneath a photo of Sanders says he “has overseen a turnaround that has helped restore the city’s fiscal health.” While the mayor has taken credit for a number of reforms, I’m not sure that even he would say the city’s fiscal health is restored, especially considering the current budget problems.

I’ve put an inquiry into his office regarding a number of finer points in the story and I’ll share those with you when I get them.

In the meantime, what do you think? Drop me a comment in The Clipboard (if you’re not there already) or just e-mail me at


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