Adds Jamason, “Established residents have profited greatly from huge home-equity increases as prices soar. These profits are partly due to anti-housing policies like the Interim Height Ordinance. Now residents are tripling down with downzoning and the Hillcrest historical district. These are exclusionist zoning measures that boost homeowner profits while increasing inequity for younger San Diegans — in a ‘progressive’ neighborhood, no less.”
Leo Wilson, a longtime community planner in Uptown, disagrees. “I am not aware of any of the recent tall buildings built in Uptown as affordable; in fact, they are expensive luxury units.”
Two current listings in the nearly 150-foot-tall Park One tower at the north end of Balboa Park on Sixth Avenue seem to confirm this contention. Both units feature two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and offer 2280 square feet of living space. The second-floor condominium is listed at $999,999 and the ninth-floor unit at $1,499,000. Both are well above the $654,700 that Zillow.com says is the median home price for Hillcrest’s 92103 zip code.
“[Developers] are actually demolishing the more affordable units in older buildings to make room for more expensive high-end units in taller buildings,” continues Wilson. “What is taking place is gentrification, not the provision of more affordable housing. Given the high cost of new housings built in Uptown, my impression has been the newcomers are more wealthy than the existing resident.”
Marcela Escobar-Eck did not respond to a request to comment.