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Pacific Plaza rent hikes taking their toll

Will development spread all the way to the beach?

The beautification of Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach has begun creeping west.

In the shadow of the spanking-new facelift at Pacific Plaza, workers have begun renovating the Safeway-owned shopping center on the northwest corner of Garnet and Jewel. Architects are the same ones who directed the Plaza transformation, so the 15-year-old center should bear the same look as its competitor across the street. Plans call for extensive landscaping which will incorporate a lot of natural wood; new light fixtures throughout the parking lot; remodeling work on all the store facades; and interior renovation of both the Sav-On and Safeway, including a 3,000-square-foot expansion of the latter. The total construction contract exceeds $700,000 and the job should take about five months, according to Safeway design manager Jim Carlton.

Though other major Garnet Avenue merchants are predicting the new look will spread all the way down to the beach, one planned improvement — renovation of the west section of Pacific Plaza — isn’t developing as quickly as had been predicted. While the Plaza management is reticent about discussing the center’s financial picture, neighboring merchants say loans for the second stage of expansion will depend upon the success of the new Plaza rents, reportedly about double the old rates. The rent hikes already have taken their toll upon Plaza merchants, with several businesses changing hands, and at least six moving out entirely.

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The beautification of Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach has begun creeping west.

In the shadow of the spanking-new facelift at Pacific Plaza, workers have begun renovating the Safeway-owned shopping center on the northwest corner of Garnet and Jewel. Architects are the same ones who directed the Plaza transformation, so the 15-year-old center should bear the same look as its competitor across the street. Plans call for extensive landscaping which will incorporate a lot of natural wood; new light fixtures throughout the parking lot; remodeling work on all the store facades; and interior renovation of both the Sav-On and Safeway, including a 3,000-square-foot expansion of the latter. The total construction contract exceeds $700,000 and the job should take about five months, according to Safeway design manager Jim Carlton.

Though other major Garnet Avenue merchants are predicting the new look will spread all the way down to the beach, one planned improvement — renovation of the west section of Pacific Plaza — isn’t developing as quickly as had been predicted. While the Plaza management is reticent about discussing the center’s financial picture, neighboring merchants say loans for the second stage of expansion will depend upon the success of the new Plaza rents, reportedly about double the old rates. The rent hikes already have taken their toll upon Plaza merchants, with several businesses changing hands, and at least six moving out entirely.

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