4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

New life breathed into “Atmosphere” project

Future low-income apartments set for Cortez neighborhood

Architect's rendering of finished project
Architect's rendering of finished project

The dead-in-the-dirt “Atmosphere” downtown condo project, which crashed in 2004, is getting a new lease on life. Now it will definitely become a low-income apartment complex, through efforts by Centre City Development Corp. (now Civic San Diego) and the nonprofit Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. of San Diego.

Google Maps image of site

The original Atmosphere site was expanded last year, when two adjacent buildings were purchased by the city. Both will be demolished when construction begins, sometime in 2015. The tenants are now on month-to-month leases.

Site as it exists today

The project must still go before a City of San Diego hearing officer, said CivicSD senior planner Lucy Contreras. She explained that such approval is usually done “on consent with no major controversy, especially if it is associated with a project that has had numerous public meetings prior to approval.”

That's the case with the Atmosphere project. The San Diego City Council gave final approval to the 12-story, 205-unit project last year. It includes street-level retail and three levels of subterranean parking (182 spaces). The project is budgeted at $82,568,312 — subject to change, per construction and interest cost increases — said a Wakeland spokesperson. The combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments averages out to more than $402,000 per unit.

Attorney and activist Hud Collins, who regularly blasts municipal expenditures at city-council meetings, told the Reader he's opposed to all affordable-housing projects. “The city should not be in the affordable-housing business,” Collins said, “especially in the current pension crisis.” He added that $400,000 per apartment unit is “ridiculous” for such projects. “It should be $70,000 to $100,000 per unit at most,” said Collins.

Wakeland's CEO Ken Sauder emailed his input: “Whenever Wakeland has come to Civic San Diego and the Downtown Community Planning Council with this project, their support has been overwhelmingly positive. Wakeland’s goal with all of our projects [is] creating affordable homes for hard-working people who couldn’t otherwise afford to live in our area.”

The site in the Cortez neighborhood is bounded by Ash and Beech streets and Fourth and Fifth avenues. The project will surround two sides of the Beechwood hotel at 1465 Fourth Avenue. A city park is planned for the huge parking lot on the opposite side of Fourth Avenue.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Gonzo Report: Pavement open first U.S. tour in 12 years at the Balboa Theatre

Sitting down for the slacker rock kings
Next Article

Specialty Produce really is special

Lion’s mane mushrooms, purple sugar apples, ice cream beans
Architect's rendering of finished project
Architect's rendering of finished project

The dead-in-the-dirt “Atmosphere” downtown condo project, which crashed in 2004, is getting a new lease on life. Now it will definitely become a low-income apartment complex, through efforts by Centre City Development Corp. (now Civic San Diego) and the nonprofit Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. of San Diego.

Google Maps image of site

The original Atmosphere site was expanded last year, when two adjacent buildings were purchased by the city. Both will be demolished when construction begins, sometime in 2015. The tenants are now on month-to-month leases.

Site as it exists today

The project must still go before a City of San Diego hearing officer, said CivicSD senior planner Lucy Contreras. She explained that such approval is usually done “on consent with no major controversy, especially if it is associated with a project that has had numerous public meetings prior to approval.”

That's the case with the Atmosphere project. The San Diego City Council gave final approval to the 12-story, 205-unit project last year. It includes street-level retail and three levels of subterranean parking (182 spaces). The project is budgeted at $82,568,312 — subject to change, per construction and interest cost increases — said a Wakeland spokesperson. The combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments averages out to more than $402,000 per unit.

Attorney and activist Hud Collins, who regularly blasts municipal expenditures at city-council meetings, told the Reader he's opposed to all affordable-housing projects. “The city should not be in the affordable-housing business,” Collins said, “especially in the current pension crisis.” He added that $400,000 per apartment unit is “ridiculous” for such projects. “It should be $70,000 to $100,000 per unit at most,” said Collins.

Wakeland's CEO Ken Sauder emailed his input: “Whenever Wakeland has come to Civic San Diego and the Downtown Community Planning Council with this project, their support has been overwhelmingly positive. Wakeland’s goal with all of our projects [is] creating affordable homes for hard-working people who couldn’t otherwise afford to live in our area.”

The site in the Cortez neighborhood is bounded by Ash and Beech streets and Fourth and Fifth avenues. The project will surround two sides of the Beechwood hotel at 1465 Fourth Avenue. A city park is planned for the huge parking lot on the opposite side of Fourth Avenue.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Ground fogs blanket coastal zones, Hunter Moon rises on October 9

Dew decorates spider webs
Next Article

Ammar Campa-Najjar hops districts and John McCann hires a private eye

Who’s more desperate to win the Chula Vista mayor’s race?
Comments
4

Lucy Contreras with CivicSD clarified her comment about the approval process. She said that "only the map waiver request is going before the City Hearing Officer; the entire project as a whole was already approved as you state. Also, the item was on consent at the community planning group, and will not be on consent with the hearing officer."

Jan. 23, 2014

11/2/14 UPDATE: Former Civic San Diego President Jeff Graham (now Senior VP, Public Institutions with Jones Lang LaSalle, and also a board member of Wakeland Housing and Development) provided a progress report: "Since the project just received notice that it won its needed 9% tax credits in October, it should begin construction during the first quarter of 2015."

Nov. 2, 2014

The City Council on Jan. 13 is expected to approve an expenditure of up to $225,000 for relocation of the businesses who have to move by early February. California Stamp Co. and Spencer S. Busby law offices have to vacate their two buildings being demolished.. The building owners previously received $1.345 and $1.08 respectively to sell. Construction of Atmosphere is scheduled to begin in March.

Jan. 9, 2015

3/4/2015 update: California Stamp Co. and Spencer S. Busby law offices did vacate, and moved to new locations. The Cortez District will eventually have a new "Atmosphere" when construction is completed.

March 4, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close