Quigley Complex on Long Branch Up for Condo Conversions

by on May 16, 2014 · 7 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

The owner of the Quigley complex on Long Branch Avenue has applied for a map waiver from the City in order to convert the four units into condos.

A notice has been sent out informing us that an application has been filed with the City of San Diego for a “Process 3 Map Waiver” in order to convert 4 residential units into condos on the .092 acres of the site.

The “Quigley complex” – so-called because the 3-story innovative building was originally owned and designed by Rob Quigley – is right in the mid block on the south side at 5151 Long Branch.

When the complex sold in 2011, here is what we reported:

 Although originally built in the mid-seventies and since re-stuccoed, this 3-story building is quite unique, as it was designed and constructed by Rob Quigley, San Diego’s famous architect. Quigley is more known for designing San Diego’s new central library currently being built downtown.

The Quigley place on Long Branch was one of the first apartment buildings to be constructed under the “new” OB Precise Plan of 1975 – a plan that encouraged and supported “green” technologies – way before anyone else – and gave props to innovation, creativity, – and, well, simply – uniqueness. Quigley had been working with the folks who had staged OB’s “urban-planning revolution”, and they had all given him the green light to move on his construction project..

The building was designed and built for four units – 3 of them smallish -, all uniquely designed, with different floor plans. Several were multilevel. Three of  the units have decks. The apartments are two-bedroom, two-bath and are 885, 931, and 1,059 square feet. One unit is 1,246 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths.

In order to obtain approval from the City and the OB Planning Board for a condo-conversion, a map waiver has to be approved – which waives the requirements for individual ownership of the sections of the plot of land. (I believe – and wait to be corrected by our hometown planners who peruse this site.)

Condo conversions have become somewhat controversial because they remove housing stock from the rental market, squeezing the lower end of the economic scale even more by limiting where tenants can live – and in turn helping to drive up rental rates.

 On the flip side, they allow home ownership of individual units within an apartment complex like this. A young family could potentially purchase one of the units – assuming it was reasonably priced – where they obviously couldn’t afford the larger building. This definitely can benefit the complex owner greatly, as they can sell the units separately on an-ever increasing scale taking advantage of the new housing bubble as it grows.

At any rate, there will be a hearing before the OB Planning Board – which has not been scheduled yet – so stay tuned.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Rice May 16, 2014 at 10:39 pm

While the units most assuredly won’t be affordable if/when they’re split and re-sold, there (mostly) none too affordable as rentals – when sold, they were getting $1500, $1950, $1950, and $2395, respectively. I’m guessing there was a long-term tenant in the one moderately-priced unit.

When they sell? I’m guessing an asking price of at least $400-$450K on the 2/2’s, $500+ on the 3/2…not a bad profit considering the sale price just north of $1M. Heck, 2/2 units in the massive Sea Colony project in Pt. Loma Heights are getting close to 400…


Marc Snelling May 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

” On the flip side, they allow home ownership of individual units within an apartment complex like this.”

Home ownership is not the same thing as condo ownership. Yes you can resell it later for profit (or loss) and preserve your equity. But you don’t have the freedom to do what you want with a condo association and fees like you do with a detached house. Really it would be more accurate to call these condo conversions ‘old apartment ownership’. Throw some granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in an old minimally-maintained apartment complex and voila! condos.

I know that ‘squeezed’ feeling all too well. When I had the choice between buying a condo in OB that only a few years earlier was a mediocre apartment, or moving away and buying an actual detached house on a lot, I chose the later.

The benefits of owner occupancy with condos only materialize if the person who buys it lives there. If they just turn around and rent it, the rent goes up and nothing has really changed other than the price. To me condo conversions are just the crest of the gentrification wave in OB.


Frank Gormlie May 17, 2014 at 9:54 am

You know, trying to be dialectical. I dislike condo conversions myself, for many of the reasons you cite. For awhile, San Diego was running amok and had become the “condo-conversion capital” of the nation. My parents actually bought in 1965 a 3 two-bedroom condo in the first condominium complex in San Diego, right there off


Dave Rice May 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Most of these mini-complexes in OB (and there are many, even some of the lots with multiple cottages on one parcel have been condo’ized) are pretty minimal so far as fees and rules go. They generally don’t have an active owners’ association, and fees are only what’s required for exterior building maintenance and insurance – considerably less than in a large complex with landscaping or public facilities like pools and parks to maintain.

I think I’d still prefer a house, but unless I go back to the suburbs there’s a good chance that may be more of a pipe dream than a realistic goal…


Marc Snelling May 18, 2014 at 6:54 am

There are a number of apartment complexes in OB with pools, landscaping, and a dozen plus units that are getting condo converted too. It might be a small thing to some people, but I really didn’t care for my condo association dictating rules when I lived in one. Where you can park, what you can have on your patio, meetings assessing fees that you have to attend or the decision is made for you. Even a small complex can make expensive decisions. Granted there is no affordable alternative.


Marc Snelling May 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Yeah when San Diego became the condo conversion capital and OB apartments started disappearing is when I checked out. Its pretty hard to stomach paying 400K+ for what was a $1100/month rental less than a decade ago. A place I lived on Muir was $750/month when I moved there in the late nineties. By the mid 2000s it was still a reasonable $825. When the original owner passed she left it to her son. He immediately raised the rent to $1100 with no improvements and said it was a great deal because it was still ‘below market’. No doubt he would condo convert the units if he thought he could make more.

The roommate I had at that place still lives in OB and lives in a complex where the owner is trying to get him to buy his unit as a condo instead of renting. He keeps renting because he doesn’t see value in owning it as a condo. Even though he could afford it.

Also if you end up having problems with neighbors in a complex where you rent its easier to move than if you own it as a condo.

Where did your parents own condos?


blowe May 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I live in this complex. 2×2…I am disappointed…have only been in there six months or so and now we will soon be preparing to move again. I understand the idea of an oppurtunity to own a home/condo. I am feeling it from the other side of condo conversion, having to vacate. I’m sure they will double their money, although I am not sure who would buy them. They are not really set up for a family, at least not the 2×2. rooms are small, no public bathroom, they are tight in space. They work great for my roomates and I. Young professionals, unble to afford a home due to school debts and all that comes with trying to get through school. But we are proud of our little home, and take care of it. I hope whoever ends up buying it enjoys it as much as we do.


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