No Slowing Down for Nat Bosa

Posted on May 7, 2008 | by Denny Oh

NatbosaNat Bosa, of Bosa Development, is highly responsible for much of Downtown San Diego’s residential growth.  Based out of Vancouver Canada, Bosa first came to San Diego in 1998 and has been setting the standard ever since.  Bosa was recently interviewed by Neal Matthews in the May edition of the San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine. 

To date, Bosa has built 8 residential towers in Downtown San Diego and has another one, just a year away from being completed.  This makes Bosa the biggest residential developer in Downtown San Diego.  Bosa has built Horizons, Park Place, Discovery, The Grande, The Legend and Electra.  Most other developers here have only built one, or two other buildings. 

In his interview, Bosa talks about how San Diego is so undervalued compared to other West coast cities and that his company is still looking for more property to purchase.  The article states that “the square-footage price of a unit near the water here is between $750–850.”  This statement is even on the high side, as recent sales show some waterfront condos are in the $600s per square foot.  Regardless, Bosa points out that one of his projects in Vancouver, Shaw Tower, has gone from $650 per square foot, to $1,600 per square foot in the last 3 years.  That’s a 246% increase!

Obviously this level of appreciation is not normal, nor is it healthy, but the point is that “most big West Coast cities are over $1,100 a square foot,” according to the article.  With that said, Nat Bosa concluded his interview saying that it does not make sense for him to begin another project in San Diego, unless he “can get over $1,000 a square foot.”  With a project slated for Kettner and Ash, another at the Office Depot site and another at the KUSI site, where do you think Downtown San Diego’s condo prices are going?

I don’t see prices going up for another 8–18 months, but I also don’t see them going down.  The best deals are being made now – before all the buyers come back.



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  1. Christopher says:

    We are under purchase and sale contract for a unit in The Electra Condominium by Bosa. Priced at over 1.5m We signed contract and have paid 15% down totaling over 225K approximately 3 1/2 years ago. We were scheduled for our walk-through on February 28, 2008 and immediately upon entering the unit we noticed the second bedroom had been altered compared to the floor plan on the purchase and sale agreement and is now extremely small. They moved a wall towards the window to make the room much smaller, and then they added a 3rd large closet to the bedroom which made the room smaller still. In fact, we were alerted to this situation about 6 weeks earlier when we heard about the unit below ours that was altered substantially making the second bedroom too small to contain a bed. In fact, in their listing of that unit (the unit below ours with a similar floor plan) Bosa’s comments indicate that the unit works best as a 1BR plus office/den rather than a 2 BR. Back in November of 2007 I contacted Bosa and had them send me the floor plan of my unit. They sent it out and no changes were noted, even though the building was complete and my unit was already finished. I contacted Bosa in January to inquire whether the second bedroom had been altered in our unit and was assured that it wasn’t. We were not informed of any of the substantial changes that have occurred to the unit. Three days prior to closing we were finally allowed to tour our unit. It was only then that we noticed the changes to our floor plan and making the second bedroom not even big enough for a normal bedroom set, only a Murphy bed system. We had already paid for a lender appraisal, and had transferred money to escrow. Our last step was to go and sign closing documents, which we canceled.
    Because of the decreased utility and value of the unit we informed Bosa that we would not be closing on the unit and would like our 15% deposit back. Bosa then asked if they could install a Murphy Bed wall system to the unit, transfer to another unit in the building and or reduce the price of the unit by $20,000. We declined all offers since it was not the unit that we purchased and agreed to. After three delays in the closing agreed to by both parties and no further communication from Bosa we were forced to hire an attorney.

    The Purchase and Sale Agreement states…

    Section 4.4 of the Purchase and Sale Agreement-

    “Seller reserves the right to make any changes or substitutions in the plans and specifications, construction, materials and fixtures for the Condominium which are substantially equal in utility and quality and which meet with the approval of the appropriate governmental authorities having jurisdiction, as the Seller deems necessary or desirable without Buyer’s consent.”

    *** Reducing the size of the second bedroom, and adding an additional closet (making 3 for such a small room) making it necessary for the installation of a Murphy bed system to use the room as a bedroom is in no way the same utility.

    Subject: Unit XXXX Floor plan
    Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2007 17:21:03 -0800
    To: XXXXXX

    Hi XXXX,
    Attached is the floorplan that is part of your contract for Unit XXXX at Electra.
    Please call our office at 619-239-2339 if you should have any questions.


    **** Nothing about changes to the floorplan were noted or given, even though the building was built and finished

    From: XXXX
    Sent: Tue 1/15/2008 12:41 PM
    To: x
    Subject: RE: Unit XXXX Floor plan


    I was speaking with my realtor recently who recently saw unit XXXX in Electra. She said that the second bedroom was extremely small because of 3 extra feet of concrete that was needed in construction. I just wanted to make sure that the XXXX square feet that is listed on the floor plan for XXXX is, in fact, the final square footage and that you didn’t encounter this same construction issue on the our floor. Sorry if it seems like I’m dwelling on this size issue.


    Subject: FW: Unit XXXX Floor plan
    Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 14:40:51 -0800
    From: x
    To: [email protected]

    Hi XXXX

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I thought someone from our office already had responded since I was out of the office. In any case, I checked with Bosa and they said XXXX (XXXX sf) is completely different as they had to add a fire exit to the roof deck as a secondary exit. XXXX is listed as the square footage on your unit.


    *** The 3 feet we were referring to was in the bedroom on the wall where in fact Bosa did have to add an extra 20″ of concrete, thus making an already small bedroom much smaller. No mention was made of this, nor of them adding an additional large closet to the room, further reducing the utility of the room!

    We were fully prepared to close on our unit. We had made our initial reservation and deposit way back in September of 2004! For them to substantially alter the floor plan of the second bedroom and make it only big enough for a Murphy bed system is just plain wrong and unethical in my mind. They contend that they made the Master bedroom a little bigger and that makes up for shrinking the second bedroom.
    Doing a search of the tax records at the Electra I found that in order to get the buyers of the unit two floors above mine with our same floor plan and changes made to our unit…it appears Bosa reduced the price of that unit between 300K-600K
    The Buyers of the unit between our two units (4203) closed at the original contract price of over 1.8m. Then Bosa ended up selling and closing on the exact same unit, but one floor higher (4303) for just over 1.3m Causing the buyer in the middle to have lost around 500K based on comps.

    Ask yourself…
    Is Bosa really a company I want to do business with?

  2. Denny Oh says:


    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. It can be risky buying something on spec and in the case of the person who bought at $1.8 million, it truly is unfortunate – this however, isn’t the developer’s fault, it’s just the nature of the game.

    Your situation on the other hand, seems more than unfortunate. I’m hesitant to say anyone is at fault since I was not involved, nor do I have all the facts, but your experience reinforces the fact that buyers must do their due diligence and keep track of all the correspondences between the seller(developer, or private seller).

    Again, I’m sorry to hear about your experience and wish you the best of luck in the future.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hey Christopher,

    I had a very similar experience as you.

    After three years of anxiously waiting, I was floored when I walked in. Neither of the two rooms were worthy of the label ‘bedroom’, the dimensions were completely scewed, the closets were removed or moved. Basically, it was complete disappointment!

    Of course Bosa does not back their product, their only reply was when will you close escrow? They had no input as far as my rights to arbitration or the california civil code, their tactics were collusionary and verged on borderline mafia strong arming!

    Never buy from BOSA! They are a low quality, poor customer service, greedy company that only looks at their bottom line as the only bottom line!

  4. Denny Oh says:

    Wow – I’ve never heard of this and am sorry to hear that. Since I have no connection to Bosa, I can’t do anything for you, but I do sympathize with you.

    I don’t know that I agree that Bosa provides a low quality product, but I guess buyers need to be more cautious of what they buy and who they buy it from.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  5. Annoyed Guy says:

    I had the same experience. My unit was over 15% smaller than the original marketing material. I notified them and they locked me and my inspector out of the unit. Finally they said that they built the unit as planned….I then asked them “why did you market living space that you had planned on not being included”… which they replied that I shouldnt have speculated on the market. My response was …that is irrellevant and doesnt excuse their misrepresentation….

    After over a year of dispute and numerous Lawyer meetings…they agreed to let us have another unit at ” fair market value”. So about a week away from closing my lender notified me that I would have to come in with another 20% to close because the unit was worth 20% less than the purchase price…..

    I will never do business with bosa again. I am extremely dissapointed with them and from what I hear the class action is on the way.

  6. Denny Oh says:

    Annoyed Guy,

    Thanks for sharing. I’m surprised to hear about so many problems! I haven’t heard about a class action suit, but will keep you posted if I do.

    It’s a shame developers don’t treat buyer’s with more respect. In an up market, I guess they don’t feel the need to and I guess they don’t realize that people have long memories!

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