$82.5M Affordable Rental Project OK’d


A_web_02_1733x1095px_w1By Lily Leung, U-T San Diego 8:41 a.m. June 13, 2013 | Updated 11:34 a.m.

The proposed Atmosphere project in the Cortez area of downtown San Diego. Photo courtesy of Civic San Diego.

A proposed $82.5 million mixed-use project will bring more than 200 affordable-housing units to downtown San Diego.

The San Diego City Council recently approved the development, called Atmosphere, which is expected to break ground in early 2015, said developer Wakeland Housing’s website. The cost of the 12-story project, which comes out to $402,772 a unit, includes land and financing, city records show.

Atmosphere was among several housing projects that were held up when California abolished redevelopment agencies, once a major funding source for affordable housing. It now appears to be back on track, pending Wakeland’s ability to secure the rest of its financing. The property is owned by Civic San Diego, a new nonprofit entity that aims to redevelop downtown and nearby areas.

“It’s a very modern, contemporary design,” said Civic San Diego President Jeff Graham. “It will be a catalyst for redevelopment in that lower Cortez area.

The development, on Fourth Avenue at Beech Street, will feature:

  • 205 apartments. Three of which will be managers’ units. The rest will be set aside for low- to moderate-income households.
  • 41 of the 202 affordable units will be set aside for formerly homeless and special-needs residents. Civic San Diego aims to designate at least 15 percent of its projects for the formerly homeless, Graham said.
  • 15,000-plus square feet of common outdoor space.
  • 6,800 square feet of common indoor space.
  • 1,000 square feet of retail space. An outdoor cafe would be a great tenant for this space, Graham said.
  • Rooftop solar panels and low-energy fixtures.
  • 182 parking spaces.

Plans to develop that parcel actually started 13 years ago, when two approved loft projects joined to make a 74-unit mixed-use development called Atmosphere Condominium, public documents say. Construction began, but the developer ran into financing issues.

That developer abandoned the property, which later was foreclosed upon, city records show. Wakeland entered into a redevelopment agreement in 2010. More parcels were added to the project to create the current 32,000-square-foot project, Graham said.

The site is an ideal place for affordable housing, he said, because it would be across the street from a future park and close by several transit corridors.

According to city records, the project is expected to bring more than 200 construction jobs and eight permanent jobs.

Source: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/13/downtown-san-diego-affordable-housing-atmosphere/