San Diego’s Quiet Zone Impact on Condo Values

A little history, in years past as all trains approached a rail road crossing they were required to sound their horns 3 times before entering the crossing (going over the street). As you may know a lot of these crossings very close to each other resulting in the train horns being sounded repeatedly as they went though the neighborhoods of Little Italy, Columbia, Marina and the Gaslamp Quarter all of which have lots of condo building adjacent to the train tracks.

After a 10 year process of getting the Quiet Zone approved, it’s finally here, a year past the deadline, but finally in effect. This Quiet Zone project cost about $20 million dollars and to the casual observer not much has changed to the intersections. Most of the changes to what cars can and can not do at these crossings, such as no more right turns on red, those kind of things. To the pedestrian, they made it a little harder to jay-walk around the intersections with new railings etc and most noticeably on Broadway they have an arm that comes down when the train is approaching preventing you from walking over the tracks.

The train horns are very loud and can be heard all the way up in Balboa Park and across the bay on Coronado. If one could narrow the train noise complaint down to one item, it is the sound of the horn from the freight train that comes through at 3:00 am everyday. Some condo owners in the Marina and Columbia neighborhoods have moved out because they could not tolerate the train horns in the middle of the night. For many the train noise was just something you get used to and hope the Quiet Zone got approved soon. Some condo shoppers passed up some of the best condo buildings in downtown because they were too close to the train tracks. Now that the train noise is no longer an issue will more buyers buy in condo buildings along the tracks and will more owners stay put?

Here are my predictions for the condo building in downtown San Diego that will see the biggest boost in values from the elimination of the train horns. Bayside condos, Grande Condos, Electra Condos, Park Place condos, Watermark condos, Cityfront Terrace condos, Harbor Club condos and the Pinnacle condos. These are the closest condos to the train tracks which also happens to be the closest condos to the San Diego bay & waterfront, which is where most condos buyers want to be.