As ground is broken on the largest affordable-housing project in San Diego County, all that remains for the complex is to finalize the patchwork of funding.
At a cost of $92 million, the Mission Cove Apartments will provide 288 new residences for Oceanside families who wait an average of seven years to obtain subsidized housing. With an expected move-in date sometime in 2017, the project will be nearly 13 years in the making.
“It's been a long, long, long time coming,” said mayor Jim Wood at a groundbreaking ceremony on August 12.
The Mission Cove project began in 2004, when the land was identified as a prime site for affordable-housing development. The city purchased the 14.5-acre lot on Mission Avenue in 2006, but the project was stalled in 2011 by the statewide budget crisis that resulted in the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies.
“When they unwound redevelopment, it almost undid it,” said councilmember Jerry Kern.
When the dust settled, Mission Cove did receive some of the money that was due and wasn't redistributed to the state, said Kern, “but there is no more money for future affordable-housing projects coming from a now-defunct agency.”
Then, in 2012, as the city began conducting community meetings to settle on a vision for the project, Kay Parker, the driving force behind Mission Cove and several affordable-housing projects in Oceanside, passed away.
“Mrs. Parker was a longtime chair of the housing commission who led the commission’s decisions knowledgeably and thoughtfully,” said Margery Pierce, head of the city's Neighborhood Services division.
“Her dedication to those in need and her willingness to speak for those without voices will be memorialized by naming the Community Resource Center in her name,” said Pierce.
According to city officials, the apartments, resource center, and 10,000 square feet of retail space will be installed in four phases and funded from different sources. Most of the money is from private capital, but the city has already committed nearly $17 million to different parts of the project, cobbled together from federal grants (which can be used to finance the housing but not retail space), the city's general fund, and other sources.
Last year, $650,000 was set aside from the sale of a city-owned mobile-home park.
This week, Oceanside will consider issuing bonds to raise $20 million for the 138 senior apartments that are part of the project.