TOPAZ Commences Pre-leasing

Topaz consists of 169 student housing beds in 53 units, ranging from one-bedroom, one bath to four-bedroom, four bath floor plans
Rendering: Official
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TOPAZ, a new student housing and retail development adjacent to San Diego State University, has started pre-leasing for this 169-bed development scheduled to open for student occupancy in August 2023.

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As one of the country’s largest private owners, operators and developers of student housing with strong ties to San Diego State University (SDSU) as a past Alumni Association President and member of five SDSU boards, Fred Pierce, President and CEO of Pierce Education Properties (PEP), saw this opportunity to provide the university with profoundly needed student housing while bringing back McDonald’s in new space and adding additional new retail tenants to the marketplace that will be enjoyed by students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. PEP was selected to redevelop the property by the long-time owners of the property, who are joint venture partners with PEP in the Topaz project.

“This development has been so positively received by the College Area community, who applauded its cutting-edge design and mixed-use program“, said Fred Pierce in a statement. “Topaz passed with flying colors through all its community planning group approvals. Student residents will enjoy the spacious units and top-of-the-line amenities in immediate walking distance to campus, and the businesses co-located in our building are expected to thrive,” stated Pierce.

The property fronts Montezuma Road just to the west of College Avenue and abuts SDSU’s well-liked South Campus Plaza project south of the campus boundary.

Topaz consists of 169 student housing beds in 53 units, ranging from one-bedroom, one bath to four-bedroom, four bath floor plans. All units will be leased by-the-bed and have a private bathroom located within each bedroom. Fully furnished units will feature faux-wood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, in-unit washers and dryers, and 50-inch Smart TVs. There are also two “penthouse” units on the upper level which include balconies and 70-inch Smart TVs, one of which also includes an additional study room. There are also four units that enjoy a billiards table in their common area along with a large sectional sofa. Services will also include high speed internet (wifi and hard-wired).

Student residents will have access to state-of-the art amenities including landscaped courtyards, private study and conference rooms, a spa, lounge/game room space, fitness center and vertical tanning booth, along with ground floor retail.

The development will house approximately 10,000 square feet of retail space for five tenants, including the relocation of the original McDonald’s restaurant which has secured a 35-year lease (including options) and Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Jimmy John’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Those food venues are targeting opening in late Summer 2023 concurrent with the opening of the housing. The developers are negotiating with the final tenant which is expected to be announced shortly.

Student residents have a short, level walk to campus classrooms and other campus facilities. The SDSU San Diego Trolly Stop is also close by, minimizing the need and added expense of owning and operating a car.

“SDSU is expected to see enrollment growth of more than 15,000 new students over the next decade” stated Pierce. “Demand for student housing is expected to be even more robust due to the shortage of housing in the San Diego County market, coupled with rising fuel prices encouraging students to live in the limited inventory of housing somewhere they can walk or bike to the campus. Approximately 20 percent of SDSU’s current student body population of about 35,000 students live on campus” added Pierce.

Students can secure their apartment by completing the online rental application at During the application process, students can either opt to sign with the roommate(s) of their choice or take advantage of Topaz’s roommate matching program. This fully online leasing process allows students and their parents to lease from anywhere.

All leases at Topaz are individual (by the bedroom) leases. This means that students and their parents are only responsible for their rental installments and don’t have to worry about the rental payments of any roommates they may be sharing an apartment with.

PEP engaged a well-recognized design and construction team for Topaz including architects AVRP Studios, Wolden Design, and KTGY Architecture and Planning and General Contractor Cannon Constructors South. KGTY has designed student housing developments both on and off campuses across the country, while AVRP Studios and Wolden Design are leading locally based design firms.

“Leveraging the inspired design vision of Frank Wolden and AVRP, combined with KTGY’s technical knowledge, and Pierce Education Properties’ passion for delivering imaginative student housing environments, the team has been able to create something truly special. We are all so very excited about the outcome of Topaz, and students thriving during their time living here”, said Darin Schoolmeester, principal at KTGY.

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
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