SAN DIEGO–The City and County of San Diego took a significant step toward building sustainable, affordable housing. The Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) working on behalf of the Redevelopment Agency for the City of San Diego, ROEM Development Corporation, and Squier Properties broke ground for Cedar Gateway Multifamily Apartments, an affordable housing community for low-income families. This project includes a total of 65 environmentally friendly, multifamily apartments that rise above more than 4,300 square feet of retail space. The community includes 23 of units that are designated for permanent supportive housing for mentally disabled adults and seniors.
The cost of this project is $32,600,000, and is financed with a combination of private and public funding, including Federal stimulus dollars. These sources include the Centre City Development Corporation/the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the California Mental Health Services, Act (MHSA), the California Housing Finance Agency, the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Multifamily Housing Program (MHP), Citibank, and the CALReUSE environmental remediation program. The Cedar Gateway project will generate more than 100 local construction jobs.
“CCDC, on behalf of the Redevelopment Agency, is proud to be a partner in this important downtown project,” said CCDC Chairman Fred Mass. “This well-designed development meets two of our important affordable housing goals by providing supportive housing units and securing the public’s long-term ownership of the land.”
Cedar Gateway Multifamily Apartments are located at 550 Cedar Street, San Diego, with easy access to Interstate 5 and a Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus stop. Residents enjoy quick access to Downtown San Diego, the San Diego Public Library, a police station, a hospital, Balboa Park, schools, and retail outlets.
“Providing superior-quality, affordable housing is central to ROEM’s corporate mission,” said Jonathan Emami, Vice President of ROEM Development Corporation. “Cedar Gateway combines unparalleled access to the amenities that today’s people need and value. With ROEM’s steadfast commitment to true partnerships with local governments and utilization of environmentally responsible building techniques, we feel that Cedar Gateway has set new standards for craftsmanship, community and sustainability.”
Cedar Gateway provides affordable housing with an outstanding view from its eco-roof. The design respects its urban context: It is contemporary, consistent with many other new downtown buildings, and complements the 80-year-old St Cecilia’s chapel next door.
“Supportive housing enables the homeless with disabling health conditions to live stable independent lives,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “Cedar Gateway is a successful, cost-effective combination of affordable housing and services, which includes mental health, substance addiction, employment and other services. It is near public transportation and features a retail element that will integrate the project and its residents with the surrounding community.”
Five, six, and seven-story segments of the building surround an outdoor atrium with plantings and inviting seating areas. The apartments above will have cross-ventilation to take advantage of San Diego’s mild climate, and residents can enjoy a “healing garden,” a barbecue or a quiet nap on the eco-roof’s 3,500 square-foot deck with a view of Cortez Hill. The laundry room is placed adjacent to the eco-roof, and the atrium level includes a large community room and computer learning center.
Distinctly different entrances on Cedar Street and Fifth and Sixth Avenues offer different views and experiences of the interior courtyard, and each is securely gated. The project will further revitalize the area by providing 4,300 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail spread among the building’s three ground-floor retail spaces, which front onto Sixth Avenue and Cedar Street. There will be three parking areas at the building’s base, two of them fully subterranean.
“Cedar Gateway is one of a new generation of developments to integrate supportive housing into an affordable apartment community,” said Gary Squier, President of Squier Properties. “Permanent supportive housing is a proven alternative to homelessness in urban areas. With Cedar Gateway, Squier Properties and ROEM Corporation eagerly join with the City and County of San Diego to mainstream previously homeless downtown residents in a high quality service enriched apartment community.”
The 23 one-bedroom units designated as supportive housing units rent to households with income levels at or below 25 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) while the remaining 42 two- and three-bedroom units rent to households at or below 60 percent of the AMI. The supportive housing units provide very affordable housing with services for homeless, disabled adults and seniors.
“Cedar Gateway is a showcase project that offers a solution to homelessness for San Diego,” said Simonne Ruff, Director of the San Diego Corporation for Supportive Housing. “The supportive housing component will enable homeless disabled folks to permanently leave the streets behind, and the other apartments will enable hard working families to afford to live close to their jobs.”
Implementing a system that provides the homeless with a home will allow for a structure that can offer support in a smarter, more efficient manner, save San Diego a significant amount of money, reduce homelessness, and provide a better, fuller life to the residents of San Diego.