On the afternoon of April 7, patrons lined up for the grand opening of Fourpenny House, a Scottish pub and restaurant. Over at Park Estate Company, antique shoppers browsed at the going-out-of-business sale.
Restaurateur Peter Soutowood has lived in La Mesa for 14 years. He believes “the village has the perfect urban-plan design for a place like Fourpenny House. It is in an ideal walkable community that is up-and-coming and a new hot spot for the San Diego culinary scene.” Soutowood signed a 10-year lease and pays $2.50 per square foot for the 2250 square-foot property.
Approximately $2 to $2.50 per square foot is the going rate for leases, said Tony Gaipa. His company, Pacific Capital Investments, bought the Park Estate property. It sold for $1.2 million in 2017, according to a Coldwell Banker webpage. Gaipa’s company also owns the building housing Farmer’s Table
Park Estate “will be here until May 15,” said Arlene Moore. She and husband Mike owned the property. They have another store in Pacific Beach and will “probably open another store.”
Mike said, “I think our shoppers are changing. They’re younger; they want restaurants.”
Construction of La Mesa’s streetscape project affected some merchants. Frank Dittmer, owner of the What A Dish! kitchen shop (now San Diego Myofascial Release) cited a lease rate proposed after streetscape completion and said, “You have to sell a lot of candles to pay a $5000 lease.”
Aaron Dean said monthly rents were from $1 to $1.50 per square foot in 2015-2016. He opened Sheldon’s Service Station café in October 2016 and declined to say what he paid for rent. Dean said his restaurant, BLVD Noodles, was “almost too new for the area.” It became City Tacos “about seven months ago” in a partnership between Dean and Gerry Torres, owner of City Tacos in North Park.
Dean, speaking as La Mesa Village Association chair, said, “We all pay different rents.” The current lease for a 1000-sqaure-foot property could range from $1000 to $5000.
Allyson Kinnard, La Mesa associate planner, said business-license records showed 18 restaurants, including coffee shops, in the village. There are seven more restaurants in the Springs Shopping Center. Furthermore, tenant improvements are underway at Curbside Eatery + Drinkery, and Surf Rider Pizza Cafe is “currently in plan review.” The Park Estate property, submitted for review for a new restaurant and sidewalk café, is not yet entitled.