San Diego businesses begin to unveil expansions

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 20:57:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Social distancing restrictions have lifted and businesses working to expand during the pandemic are finally unveiling their new spaces.

"We set a date, we had to move forward," said Alex Montelbano, founder of Kove Hard Yerba Mate, which opened its new tasting room in Barrio Logan on Friday. "Our plan's been pushed back, pushed back, pushed back, and if we don't open, we'll never go anywhere."

Montelbano and his team built the lush, outdoor tasting area over the last two months on the outer wall of Thorn Brewing Company, where their beverages are canned and shipped to 130 county markets and liquor stores.

By building the outdoor space themselves, Kove was able to lower the cost from a couple hundred thousand dollars to less than $50,000.

While businesses are still trying to fill a glut of open jobs and adjust to reopening, there is an opportunity for those capable of expansion. Commercial real estate analyst Gary London said the local market is off 20 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

"The commercial markets are all distressed," he said. "There's tons of availability for retail, for restaurants, for office space, and the that's not going to cure itself instantly."

London said businesses continuing to operate outside will also play a factor, depending on how much that space will cost them, if at all.