Conversion of the former World Trade Center at 1250 Sixth Avenue into a “one stop” homeless center moved closer to reality October 5: the San Diego City Council, convened as the San Diego Redevelopment Agency, voted 8-0 to approve an exclusive negotiation agreement with Connections Housing Downtown.
The plan is for interim housing on floors two and three, with 100 “roomette” beds for men and 50 for women. Permanent supportive housing with 74 studio apartments would be on the 4th through 12th floors. But according to a study done by Cushman & Wakefield in April 2009 on alternative sites, “this site will not house enough beds to permanently close the city's winter emergency shelter.”
Using the 1250 Sixth Avenue building for housing seems unprecedented, but a report prepared by Heritage Architecture & Planning in March stated that the San Diego Athletic Club had “96 sleeping rooms on the upper floors...therefore, re-establishes a historic use.” (Inhabited first by the San Diego Athletic Club in the late ‘20s, the blue-and-white Art Deco building eventually came into use by publishers Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which vacated the site in the mid ‘90s.)
About 35 individuals spoke at the meeting, with only four opposing the project. The San Diego City Council will vote on the full project in early 2011.
Connections Housing is a limited partnership of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), Affirmed Housing Group, and Family Health Centers of San Diego.
Renovation is estimated to be in the $31 million range, but could cost more.
Alpha Project is expected to repeat the winter-shelter program, which will cost around $778,000 this year.
Photo: Interior of World Trade Center