Construction is under way at the former site of Barnard Elementary School in Point Loma, which was demolished to make way for a 9.5-acre, gated apartment complex. The San Diego Unified School District voted to sell the property two years ago — a "desperate attempt to generate revenue" in the face of budget shortfalls, according to a U-T reporter at the time.
Stepping in to purchase the property was the Monarch Group, a La Jolla–based real estate developer responsible for building similar properties in Carmel Valley and beside Lake Miramar in Scripps Ranch. Monarch picked up the Barnard site at auction for a reported $16.5 million.
Monarch plans to open the new complex in January 2016, and will hire a property-management firm to rent the 180 units, which will consist of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as ten townhomes. Plans call for 19 residential buildings in all, plus a recreational building that will contain a fitness center and “teaching kitchen.” Other amenities include an artificial-turf dog park, shared outdoor areas, community grills, and a swimming pool.
A representative of the Monarch Group said that due to the site's existing zoning (a large apartment complex is across the street), no traffic impact study would be required; also, each of the rental units would include a garage space. He said it's too early to gauge what asking rent will be amid an early 2016 market.
The cost of construction looks to hit the $30 million range, on land purchased for about $40/sq. ft. The school district handled the demolition of the school buildings that previously occupied the property, but a San Diego Unified rep could not provide a dollar amount for the cost of doing so.
Barnard Elementary, officially known as Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, moved to the former site of Bayview Terrace Elementary in Pacific Beach at the beginning of the 2013 school year. The Mandarin-language magnet school only briefly occupied the Point Loma campus, which was built during World War II as a school for children of Navy service members.
During the same meeting the school board voted to move the Pacific Language Academy, it moved on a resolution to sell the original Barnard site. Ultimately deemed "surplus property," the aging school site was sold and the majority of the income generated was used to pay the annuity on the school district's 2009 SERP (Supplemental Early Retirement Plan), which granted early-retirement incentives to a reported 1031 district employees; a 2014 SERP program enrolled another 458 early retirees.
Both SERP incentives were created to reduce the annual budgets of the school districts during their respective years, meaning SDUSD has taken to selling property to cover budget shortfalls pertaining to previous years' budget shortfalls.
In May 2013, the school district voted to liquidate an additional two-and-a-quarter acres of coastal property to developers, selling the site of the Mission Beach Elementary School campus to another La Jolla developer, McKellar-Ashbrook, for $18.5 million.