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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

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MaxFacts Oct. 6, 2010 @ 7:25 p.m.

Just wait till they start trading! COol San Diego , way to go 8 to Zero. That is a great start for a much needed part of what used to be Americas' best city, but i hear they changed that too. It should save the tax payer in that it would reduce the amount of emergency services, as it is scheduled to have a clinic on premises. That will be the most needed for the homeless, easy acccess to Health care. On a personal note it is nice to know that the religious zealots that "run" the current shelters such as father Joes' Villages and The San Diego Mission will be out of the picture on this one. This will allow all including the non-religious types a new and different approach to the real needs of the homeless- like actual mental health professionals and educated addiction treatment personal. Seems that it will help to reduce the chronic homeless folks and get them the services they need, not just a bunch of money hungry religious organizations poluting the minds of the underclass in- to believivng in ghosts.


Leonel Sanchez Oct. 6, 2010 @ 8:29 p.m.

Thanks for the update. I'm a former San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, laid off, and wrote several stories about this project. Father Joe's Village actually had a competing bid for a one-stop homeless center but lost out to the PATH folks. I liked the idea that this one-stop model could be replicated in other parts of the county. Homelessness is not just a downtown problem


laplayaheritage Oct. 6, 2010 @ 8:40 p.m.


Council Persons Donna Frye and Carl DeMaio have asked for an Audit into the 1992 Agreement between CCDC and the County of San Diego which will identify funds to solve our city-wide Homeless problem.

San Diego has hundreds of millions of dollars sitting in the bank, and not working for the public. CCDC and the Redevelopment Agency is rich enough to fund everything including the 224-bed World Trade Center, and Father's Joe's planned 500 bed apartments in the East Village.


The ticket ban cannot be lifted until San Diego builds at least 4,000 warm beds city-wide. These two projects would take care of downtown, and the other seven council districts could pledge 500 warm beds each. The money to build shelters for the Mentally Ill, Homeless, and Domestic Violence victims can come from the audit of the 1992 Agreement with the County of San Diego which will total @ $18 Million next year for pass-through tax increment funds. The acceptable uses for our public money include Social services with Counseling, Educational, Training, Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation, Children's Services, and Health and Welfare Facilities and Programs.

Currently the County of San Diego Tax Sharing Percentage is 7.00% for a total of $8,396,958 a year. Per the 1992 Agreement, this income can also be used as a source of funding In Fiscal Year 2012 the Tax Sharing Percentage with the County of San Diego will increase to 14.70 % to approximately $17,633,612, which is an increase of an additional $9,236,654. It would be in the best interest of the City AND County of San Diego to make sure the increase Tax Sharing funding starting in Fiscal Year 2012 is used specifically for the Health and Safety of the Homeless, Mentally Ill, children, seniors, and Veterans sleeping on public streets and alleys in downtown.


Founder Oct. 7, 2010 @ 10:32 a.m.

Helping #3 Here are those two links from above: http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd5/pdf/news/memo100917.pdf



It needs to be said again, that our City Council is the Redevelopment Agency, using another legal name!

$o the same elected people control all the money and since they are not using it to help US instead of Developers is LAME!


a2zresource Oct. 7, 2010 @ 10:42 a.m.

RE "San Diego has hundreds of millions of dollars sitting in the bank, and not working for the public.":

Despite claims that hiz honor and attendant council members have a good handle on the financial pulse of city business, there is a legion of city department heads who over the years and decades have had the City invest multi-millions in now-matured bonds and other financial instruments. Unfortunately, these department managers rarely communicate to their superiors the existence of those bonds, the fact that they have matured and are now due for spending or re-investment, and the more important fact that their total value is likely as much or greater than the alleged $70+ million shortfall in our current adopted city budget.

It is interesting that our city leaders want us to vote for a half-cent sales tax increase to cover that alleged $70+ million budget gap, when nobody on the city council was willing to deal with or even talk about the $244 million loan and interest forgiveness package to the San Diego Redevelopment Agency earlier this year... and $144 million of that is in accumulated interest still not forgiven and thus still owed to San Diego taxpayers or the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development from improperly-allocated block grant funding.

Of course, I could be dead wrong about this stuff not yet having been forgiven because that's the way our city council members roll when nobody's watching...


Founder Oct. 7, 2010 @ 10:47 a.m.

Reply #5

You think the IBA office would know the answer to that question?

Here is their link, please let us know what you find out!



a2zresource Oct. 7, 2010 @ 10:53 a.m.

RE IBA office:

Isn't this the same Independent Budget Analyst that promised earlier this year that she just might actually get around to using that very expensive new SAP city accounting system in her work monitoring city finances sometime this summer?


historymatters Oct. 7, 2010 @ 2:18 p.m.

a2zresource: you are right on as usual. The key to this is why is council giving 1 penny to CCDC after it grossly mismanaged our tax dollars. Check out this article from the LA Times 2 days ago on redevelopment agencies across California and tell me you trust CCDC to actually do what we are paying them 31 mill for? Also 31 million to renovate an existing pristine building? Lets do the math. 90% of that will go straight into their pockets as pure profit. All they need to do is provide a warm safe place for the homeless. They could move all 225 into that building w/o spending a penny and accomplish that.


I would like to believe in this however my 1st reaction is to figure out why the "Housing Commission" which is run by the Building Industry suddenly cares about the homeless?

Council is way to quick to vote for anything that has the word "homeless" or "affordable housing" or "rapid transit" w/o actually looking at what is being accomplished and what harm may be done and whether this is even an appropriate amount of money. Believe me I am all for helping the homeless and I actually have alot of solutions that would be way cheaper than this. I hope its really being done in the best interest of the community but at this point I doubt it.

Thats why I included the above link to show all the millions in redevelopment dollars were totally misused and we didnt get a single unit of "affordable housing". Im not sure why we can suddenly trust these guys.


historymatters Oct. 7, 2010 @ 2:25 p.m.

31 million dollars would buy 1 million tents. I am not saying the homeless should have to live in tents I am just making the point that there are much better ways to help more people w/ less money. Tent technology has come a long way. look at the military. They have people living in tents in Antartica. I was in Tahoe last year. At the top of the mountain in the freezing snow was a giant heated tent for the workers. it was warm and cozy as could be.

What is wrong w/ the idea of creating a more permanent tent city for them downtown that would cost a fraction of the price and would service many times more homeless? 225 isnt even going to put a dent in the problem. We want to keep them warm and dry for the winter and give them a place to start to pull their lives together. this can all be accomplished in a much more effective manner. As an almost licensed architect I think about this problem all the time and I would love to design a permanent tent city that would actually help to solve this problem.


a2zresource Oct. 7, 2010 @ 3:28 p.m.

RE #8-9 as to why now:

It seems that the people who most want to start ticketing the homeless as a civic beautification project again have seen the WTC building as their way to get it done. It is hard to sell downtown condos when more and more of us have to navigate the sidewalks among people without housing, and that condo market will remain soft from poor curb appeal as long as the permanent homeless shelter isn't available to get them out of sight and out of mind.

There wasn't anything wrong with tent cities here in San Diego immediately after Saigon fell.


historymatters Oct. 7, 2010 @ 5:48 p.m.

az2: I think the thing is we need to change the way we view the tent shelter. Personally, I would live in a tent if it was well insulated and I had access to great restroom facilities. Tents can have hardwood floors, everything a home has and the best part is that they would not permanently scar the land. Tents are much more sophisticated than they were 50 years ago and I believe we could build entire communities w/ them not just for the homeless, for anyone. Honestly, I would love to design that community because I do believe it could work and would facilitate a wonderful sense of community unlike the suburban slums we have allowed the developers to build that create apathy, crime, alientation and depression.

The problem w/ tent cities in 3rd world countries is they dont have adequate sanitation and access to clean water and restroom facilities. Other than that they are a great start. If people in Haiti were living in tents and not concrete death traps they would all still be alive today.

The key is insulation from the elements and a good restroom because thats really all that is missing when you go camping.


Founder Oct. 7, 2010 @ 6:28 p.m.

I'd like to add that every City Council District should have Public Porta-Potties so nobody has to use our streets and alleys as bathrooms...

The cost would be minimal and some cities even have Porta-Potties that require tokens, that folks can give purchase and then give out instead of cash to gain entrance to them, if the City of SD feels it needs to charge to "GO"...


a2zresource Oct. 7, 2010 @ 6:51 p.m.

Develop your plans on tent towns and cities and don't loose them. When things get really lousy in this town, people will come looking for you... for a good reason...


historymatters Oct. 8, 2010 @ 12:26 a.m.

I like the porta potty idea!!!

Seriously I see these homeless people and I think the best thing we can possibly do for them is give them a place to store their [email protected] They cant go anywhere because they always have to watch all their worldly possessions. It needs to be like a HS locker but obviously much larger. Give them great shower facilities and then they can really clean themselves up and hit the pavement for a job. They will never get work as long as they are shackled to their stuff. We can only help 225 people w/ this World Trade Center thing and God knows we are probably just encouraging homelessness rather than really motivating. But I think in addition they could help all the homeless by providing free storage facilities. Just seems like a no brainer and it would probably make a big difference.


historymatters Oct. 8, 2010 @ 9:04 p.m.


OK now this makes sense CCDC just got approval from the state to take as many billions to develop SD as they need. Im all for helping these people but at a cost of over 100,000 per person we are getting totally ripped off and they will pocket 90% of this money.


dwbat Sept. 22, 2012 @ 2:50 p.m.

I went by there today, and snapped a photo. Looks like full steam ahead. Hardly recognized the building with the wrap on it!



a2zresource Oct. 9, 2010 @ 8:43 a.m.

On looking at the way this comment thread is going, I am going to start investing in canvas and nylon thread, the raw materials for tents...


dwbat Oct. 10, 2010 @ 3:32 p.m.

historymatters wrote: "Also 31 million to renovate an existing pristine building? Lets do the math. 90% of that will go straight into their pockets as pure profit. All they need to do is provide a warm safe place for the homeless. They could move all 225 into that building w/o spending a penny and accomplish that." ================================================================ I only reported on this plan. Whether this is a good or poor plan is not for me to comment on. But I will address those remarks. I went inside the old WTC building as part of my research. It is not "pristine" at all, if you use the definition of "fresh, clean, and unspoiled." This building is over 80 years old. It definitely needs upgraded heat, ventilation, electrical and plumbing. Existing bathrooms are not ADA-compliant. Many new bathrooms are required, as is a new hot water delivery system. All lighting must be energy efficient. Many other repairs are needed. With all this work, obviously there will not be 90% "pure profit." Is $31 million too much, or not enough? I honestly do not know. The City Council will have final word on that early next year.


dwbat Jan. 26, 2012 @ 6:25 p.m.

I noticed the U-T ran a story on the makeover today; it reads like a rewrite of a press release. They are a little late in their coverage, since I did my story on Oct. 6, 2010. Their reporters were snoozing in the lunchroom back then, I guess. Do they ever actually go out into our communities and see what is going on?


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