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The timeworn Hotel Sandford, a single-room occupancy facility for low-income seniors at 1301 Fifth Avenue, will soon receive long-overdue renovations.

The San Diego Housing Commission purchased the building earlier this year for $6.8 million and will spend $5.3 million on improvements.

According to the Housing Commission, the rehab work will take about nine months and include seismic-retrofit improvements, repairs to exterior walls and windows, and interior upgrades such as new carpeting, paint, and water-saving plumbing fixtures.

The hotel was constructed in 1914; the last improvements took place in 1989. When I saw one of the rooms a while back, it was drab and depressing. Electric outlets are minimal. There was no microwave or mini-refrigerator, and none are allowed to be plugged in. “It would blow the circuit breakers,” the hotel manager explained to me at the time.

Room rents for the 130 units average $433 per month, and all have private bathrooms. The large basement has a TV lounge, laundry room, community dining room with vending machines, and a commercial-grade kitchen.

The Centre City Development Corporation provided the loan for the property's purchase. Net operating income from the hotel will be divided equally by the Housing Commission and the Centre City Development Corporation.

The adjacent and vacant Mason Hotel, destroyed inside by a 2004 fire, will also become low-income housing. That renovation will cost about $3.5 million.

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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 2, 2010 @ 10:24 p.m.

Yay, two hotels that WON'T be handed over to wealthy numbnuts to convert into fancy "boutique" hotels that nobody patronizes. Downtown needs affordable housing, so kudos for instituting safety revisions, withOUT displacing the people who live there.


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