Local development giant H.G. Fenton, battling against the incursion of proposed SoccerCity into the Mission Valley real estate franchise it shares alongside burgeoning Sudberry Properties, has spent a total of $1,502,865 this year as of October 10 to oppose the project, according to data maintained by the San Diego city clerk's office.
$50,000 of Fenton's money has gone to Friends of SDSU, Yes on G, a committee backing the turnover of the city-owned former Qualcomm stadium site to San Diego State University. The balance has been given to Public Land, Public benefit, No on E, opposing SoccerCity's bid to assume control of the property by a group of La Jolla investors.
But that's not all of the big-time political spending being done by the builder to protect its sprawling county-wide leasing empire, which includes 14 apartment complexes as well an eclectic inventory of commercial space, including what the company calls Brewery Igniter, targeted at beer-making millennial start-ups.
"A series of turnkey brewing facilities," explains the firm's website, "each Brewery Igniter space features state of the art, fully functional brewing systems and tasting rooms that entrepreneur brewers can use to reduce their upfront capital investment and get their beers on the market and into glasses sooner."
Living the good life in Fenton-owned residential complexes isn't for low-end renters. "Vici’s average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment will be around $2,900 a month when it opens July 1," per a May 18 Union-Tribune account of a new Fenton project on the site of the former San Diego Reader building in Little Italy.
"H.G. Fenton also constructed another smaller apartment building, with 28 apartments, called Amo, on the other side of the piazza where the average asking rent is $2,513 a month, according to CoStar. The company said it staggered the two buildings’ heights to avoid a canyon-like feel to the piazza.”
With that kind of coin on the line, it has come as no surprise to political insiders that Fenton and other San Diego apartment-owning behemoths have committed major dollars to defeat November's Proposition 10, a measure to do away with state limits on local residential rent control laws.
Fenton weighed in against the measure on September 21 with a $250,000 contribution to a committee called No on Prop 10; Californians for Responsible Housing. The county's biggest residential landlord, R & V Management, gave $500,000 to the same group in August, and Fairfield Residential Company, another locally based apartment owner with more than 43,000 units nationwide, per its website, came up with $100,000 in June.
A separate No on 10 committee got $10,000 from Stuart Posnock and affiliates on September 17. Posnock is in charge of the San Diego operations of New Jersey-based Garden Communities, an asset of N.F.L. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and family. In April 2017, Peter Selis, a former Posnock in-law, went on a pool-sidekilling spree at the company's La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex where he was a resident.
Backing passage of the measure with an October 10 $25,000 contribution to Make Housing Affordable, Yes on 10, is the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, state records show.