Construction to begin on City Heights affordable housing
Construction will soon be underway on 195 affordable apartments for low-income families and seniors at 4340 44th St., where San Diego’s Kensington, Talmadge and City Heights neighborhoods connect.
Situated at the corner of Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, the $81 million development features two distinctive, contiguous five-story buildings above a semi-subterranean parking structure for its future residents. One building will provide 78 two- and three-bedroom rental apartments for families, including one manager’s unit, while the adjoining building will offer 117 one-bedroom rental apartments for seniors, including two managers’ units. These affordable apartments are conveniently located across the street from the Copley-Price Family YMCA, near several bus stops and other neighborhood amenities.
Chelsea Investment Corp. is leading the development of the Mid-City Family Apartments and Mid-City Senior Apartments on behalf of Price Philanthropies Foundation, which donated the land and contributed vital funding. Serving Seniors is also a partner on the project and will provide comprehensive on-site services for both the senior and family apartments.
“When we acquired the land at Fairmount and El Cajon in 2009, we knew that its strategic location on El Cajon Boulevard could, with careful planning and design, be the place of a transformational community-oriented development,“ said Robert E. Price, President of Price Philanthropies Foundation. “After facilitating the development of the Copley Price Family YMCA in 2014, we wanted to ensure access to stable, quality affordable housing in Mid-City. We are excited to see 195 units of family and senior housing available in the community at rates that ensure accessibility.“
The 1.6-acre project was conceived in 2016, when Price Philanthropies Foundation retained Robert Wellington Quigley as executive architect. Since then, Quigley’s firm has worked with community planners to envision a cohesive mixed-use campus that includes such popular elements as an intergenerational garden, dedicated dog area, and a Town Square outdoor plaza.
All rents are significantly discounted from market rate and will remain affordable for at least 55 years for households earning between 40-60 percent of AMI (Area Median Income) for the senior building ($37,000 to $55,440 annually for a two-person household) and 50-60 percent of AMI for the family building ($57,750 to $69,300 annually for a four-person household).
Rents for the two- and three- bedroom family apartments are expected to range from approximately $1,200 to $1,600, while rents in the senior building will range from approximately $750 to $1,200 for one-bedroom apartments. All units include central heating and air, fully-equipped kitchens and window coverings.
“There is tremendous demand for affordable senior housing in San Diego with critical support services,” said Paul Downey, President & CEO of Serving Seniors. “We are proud to be both a development partner and service provider helping meet that need with this innovative project. It will set a new standard for creating community across generations.”
The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) awarded a loan of more than $6.7 million to support the development of Mid-City Senior Apartments, funded by HOME Investments Partnerships funds provided to the City by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, both of which SDHC administers. SDHC also authorized the issuance of more than $46 million in tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds toward creation of the apartments for both seniors and families. The City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, approved the bonds.
Other financing mechanisms for both developments include $4.5 million from the County’s Innovative Housing Trust Fund, donation of the land and additional funding from Price Philanthropies Foundation, tax credit equity and construction loans from US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, and permanent loans from Citi Community Capital.
General contractor Emmerson Construction will build both residential buildings concurrently.
“Mid-City Family and Mid-City Senior Apartments represent an intergenerational model that blends seniors and families to create an opportunity for residents of all ages to interact on a daily basis,” said Jim Schmid, Founder and CEO of Chelsea Investment Corp., a local developer credited with creating more than 11,000 affordable homes in San Diego and the western region. “With support from stakeholders like San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, along with vital services provided by Serving Seniors, this dynamic, supportive community will be an asset to San Diego for decades to come.”
The project is scheduled to open in mid-2022. Approximately six months prior to the completion, prospective residents can register their interest at conam.com.
Balboa Park’s central mesa, Prado Restaurant, parking lots reopen June 12
The restoration of San Diego’s public spaces to community use continues. Beginning Friday, June 12, visitors are once again welcome to explore the historic Central Mesa of Balboa Park.
Balboa Park Conservancy volunteers will be ready to greet visitors at the pop-up Visitors Center kiosk outside the House of Hospitality building, each day from 10am to 4pm. The Prado Restaurant is reopening as well, introducing “grab and go picnic basket” service and bringing back the popular dining spot inside the park’s cultural center, Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning at 12 noon and continuing service to late afternoon. The Japanese Friendship Garden Tea Pavilion and the Prado Perk Coffee Cart will also open on June 12 to serve park visitors. Watch for The Prado’s Summer Beer & Wine Garden coming to the Plaza de Panama soon.
All Balboa Park parking lots will be open at full capacity.
As normal activities gradually resume, the Balboa Park Conservancy encourages park users to follow state and local guidelines regarding physical distancing and mask wearing to ensure everyone’s safe and healthy enjoyment of San Diego’s favorite attraction.
It isn’t just visitors who are eager to get back to the park. In a recent survey conducted by the Conservancy, more than half its volunteers say they expect to keep the same number of volunteer hours in the park or increase them when it reopens. That includes hours staffing the Visitors Center kiosk, guiding visitors as Park Ambassadors, and monitoring our urban forest as Tree Stewards.
Details about the reopening and how to access different parts of the park safely can be found at the Virtual Visitors Center on the Conservancy’s website and on Balboa Park’s main website.