San Diego will be the center of the development universe


San Diego will be the center of the development universe with two high-profile conferences headed this way in the next month.

The Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, will meet Tuesday through Friday at the Hilton Bayfront hotel, and the Pacific Coast Builders Conference June 5-6 at the San Diego Convention Center.

It will be the first time since 1994 that ULI has met here — and officials said the 3,300 attendees registered so far represent the group’s largest gathering for its spring meeting. ULI counts 26,000 members in the United States, 1,700 in Europe and 1,100 in Asia.

PCBC, which focuses on housing development, has never met in San Diego, but is doing so this year because its regular site, San Francisco’s Moscone Center, is not available. Its highlight is the Gold Nugget awards program that honors commercial as well as residential projects. About 8,000 are expected.

Vicki Mullins, co-chair of the ULI conference, said developers will look for trends in the post-recession era and huddle privately to consummate deals.

“It’s a big networking opportunity,” she said.

So don’t surprised if you see business types in $1,000 suits, ears glued to cellphones, stepping off buses in your neighborhood and jamming the bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter. They may be talking up skyscrapers in Shanghai or apartment towers in the Big Apple — or perhaps eyeing some opportunity locally.