The Developing Story: San Diego

Everybody’s seen the ads—actors, surfers, musicians, and models swimming, hiking, or lounging by a pool, all while encouraging people travel to California. These Visit California ads are having an affect in at least one city in the Golden State—San Diego. The eighth-largest city in the United States and the second-largest in California, San Diego has become a major destination for people traveling to the West Coast, and its hotel market has adjusted to meet the sharply increasing demand.

According to Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego has matured significantly as an urban area, now offering way more than a trip to the ocean. “San Diego’s individual neighborhoods have grown significantly, and each of them offers a different flavor for travelers,” Terzi says. “And the great thing is that the city is very compact—you can get anywhere from downtown in 10 to 15 minutes, so you get to experience as much or as little as you want to.”

Beyond attracting a slew of tourists thirsty for the California lifestyle, the city has also become very corporate-friendly, drawing more business travel to complement leisure. “It’s way more than a tourism town. We have a very strong creative business cluster that’s creating great opportunities for business development in San Diego,” Terzi notes. Currently, the city is a major hub for wireless cellular technology and is home to Qualcomm, Nokia, LG Electronics, and Cricket Communications. The University of California San Diego has also brought biotechnology into the city’s economy, and as of 2013, the city had the second-largest biotech cluster in the country. San Diego also has a very strong meetings market and a 2.6-million-square-foot convention center (which is home to the world-famous San Diego Comic Convention) surrounded by more than 12,000 hotel rooms.


Some noteworthy new hotel projects in San Diego include a 400-key SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn that opened in April, a 400-key Hotel InterContinental set to open early 2018, and the first hotel in Montage Hotels & Resorts’s new brand, Pendry, due to open in November.

Robert Green, president and CEO of his namesake company, a commercial and residential real estate developer specializing in hospitality, says that when Montage Hotels & Resorts was deciding where to launch its newest, millennial-focused brand, Pendry, the team knew in four seconds that San Diego’s trendy Gaslamp District was the exact place to do it. Green details what makes San Diego the right place for Pendry.

To view San Diego by the numbers, click here.

Straight Talk on San Diego

» ”Gaslamp is one of the best examples of a high-energy, stimulating, urban
location with great nightlife, art, culture, music, and sports. The energy of this market is just great.”

» ”The location of the Pendry is spectacular. It’s right on the corner of 5th and J in the heart of the Gaslamp. It’s two blocks north of the convention center and two blocks west of the ballpark. 5th and J is arguably Main and Main in this neighborhood.”

» ”Travelers are really drawn to San Diego given its access to the beach, the desert, and the mountains. There’s just a lot of excitement and a lot of really fun things to do down there.”