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Two more downtown high-rises — 800 Broadway and 6th & A

Exorbitant rents, ground-floor retail, and “affordable” units

The boom in downtown apartment construction continues at a furious pace. Two more projects recently submitted their applications to Civic San Diego for the extensive approval process.

Future home of 800 Broadway

One new project will be just east of the long-planned massive Broadway Block development. The 800 Broadway project from Minto Investment Group, LLC, proposes a

40-story, mixed-use development with 384 dwelling units, approximately 21,000 square feet of retail space, and 358 parking spaces. The developer plans to include 34 affordable units.

Future home of 6th & A

That project is located on a 20,000-square-foot site on the north side of Broadway between Eighth and Ninth avenues in the East Village neighborhood. Per usual, there will be preliminary design review meetings followed by public meetings, then a final decision by the CivicSD board.

800 Broadway. 40-story, mixed-use development with 384 dwelling units, approximately 21,000 square feet of retail space, and 358 parking spaces.

Meanwhile, Malek Investment Group, LLC proposes 6th & A, a 43-story, 401-foot-tall residential tower composed of 389 units, with 33 affordable ones. It would include 433 parking spaces. Their 29,750-square-foot site is located on the north side of A Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues in the Cortez neighborhood. The multiple amenities include an open space for pets on the eighth floor, with a drainage section connected to the sewer system.

Such projects provide some affordable units (in lieu of paying the required inclusionary housing fee to the city). They offer a remedy to the spiraling cost of apartment rentals. "CivicSD strongly encourages developers to include affordable units rather than pay the fee, but a majority of projects still pay the fee," said Brad Richter, assistant VP of planning. But some industry experts contend these affordable units are insufficient.

Former CivicSD president Jeff Graham, now executive director of real estate at UCSD, told the Reader: “While developers providing 10-20 percent of inclusionary affordable units may not seem like enough (it’s not) to solve SD’s housing crisis for average workers, every little bit helps.” He elaborated: “Cities’ — not just SD’s but all cities in SD County — community plans desperately need to be updated with zoning along commercial corridors that allow for greater density, provided the project delivers high-quality design and respects the needs of the community in which it’s built.”

Gary Smith is president of the San Diego Downtown Residents Group. Regarding affordable units, Smith says, “It’s better included than [the developer] paying the fee; at least they will get built.”

Graham says moving up does create vacancies for others: “Delivering more moderately priced housing will allow average-wage-earning households to obtain new housing and vacate older housing that can become available to those households that may be living in subpar housing, homeless, or on the verge of homelessness.”

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9

Affordable housing in San Diego.....I don't think so. SD like SF and LA will only be homes to the well off. The up and coming "creative class" is moving inland to places like Cathedral City and high desert towns.

June 9, 2017

Yes, I think you're right about that. Esp. those who either open up a small business, work in healthcare/tourist industry/food, or work on a "virtual" basis.

June 9, 2017

There are several inter-related problems with this analysis.

First, none of this new construction is "moderately priced housing." Every one of these high rises is advertised with the words exclusive and luxury for a reason. And no wonder: construction costs go up in direct proportion to height.

Second is that banks are not interested in lending to build "moderately priced housing." They're only interested in maximized return; and the margins for anything that meets the needs of the 99% isn't enough for them. Unless there is a return to serious and sustained government-led financing for affordable housing, the market absolutely will not solve the problem.

Third, natural demand for housing is being warped by international investors looking for safe places to park their money. If there isn't some kind of reverse occupancy tax or other serious financial mechanism to protect and encourage housing for shelter rather than investment, absentee owners will continue to consume close to half of all new housing built.

And finally, this means changing community plans to allow for density means that, unless an area is being rezoned from industrial to mixed residential, that affordable existing housing will be destroyed and replaced with exclusive, luxury developments. Targeting areas already heavily infilled, like North Park and Hillcrest, precisely because they're established and popular will result in lower net project units and only make the crisis worse.

June 9, 2017

You perhaps misread the article, which mentioned the number of affordable units being offered in the two towers. Compared to the full-rent prices, the included affordable apts. could well be considered "moderately priced housing." Many of the new high-rise residential towers being built in SD are apartments, not condos. So those units would not have absentee owners. As for the two projects, their applications refer to "residential" but don't specify if they'll be apartments or condos. I believe sometimes this may be determined later on.

June 9, 2017

I don't believe I did. Including token amounts of affordable housing for gimme variances to skirt other quality-of-life zoning requirements is bad enough. But as these numbers show, developers aren't even "providing 10-20 percent of inclusionary affordable units." These two projects have just 67 out of 773 affordable—only 8.7%. So again, when these projects replace "older housing that" could have "become available," it's fatuous for apologists to claim "every little bit helps."

And whether the new units are condos that will be individually leased by absentee landlords (if they don't just keep them empty—see the links in my original comment) or apartments, the point is that the market will ensure that rents are exorbitant to cover for the overhead of development and provide an appreciable profit margin.

Again, unless we look at all the market forces in action and actively address their effects, we will never create adequate affordable housing.

June 10, 2017

We really don't disagree overall. Yes, there needs to be a big change, so that thousands of residential units become affordable. Otherwise, SD just becomes like San Francisco, New York, Silicon Valley, LA, etc. where only the rich can live comfortably and safe. Is a "Blade Runner" future what we want?

June 10, 2017

Hmm. No more Bosa towers? I wonder what city the pirate of Vancouver is pillaging and pilfering now that he has taken all the low hanging fruit from San Diego.

June 9, 2017

Mike Murphy on Facebook: Yes, who wants to pay top dollar for a luxury apartment with a great view, when a couple of years later your view gets blocked by another high-rise project? The best rule of thumb is: Don't pay extra for the wonderful view!

June 17, 2017

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6th & A, a 43-story, 401-foot-tall residential tower composed of 389 units
6th & A, a 43-story, 401-foot-tall residential tower composed of 389 units

The boom in downtown apartment construction continues at a furious pace. Two more projects recently submitted their applications to Civic San Diego for the extensive approval process.

Future home of 800 Broadway

One new project will be just east of the long-planned massive Broadway Block development. The 800 Broadway project from Minto Investment Group, LLC, proposes a

40-story, mixed-use development with 384 dwelling units, approximately 21,000 square feet of retail space, and 358 parking spaces. The developer plans to include 34 affordable units.

Future home of 6th & A

That project is located on a 20,000-square-foot site on the north side of Broadway between Eighth and Ninth avenues in the East Village neighborhood. Per usual, there will be preliminary design review meetings followed by public meetings, then a final decision by the CivicSD board.

800 Broadway. 40-story, mixed-use development with 384 dwelling units, approximately 21,000 square feet of retail space, and 358 parking spaces.

Meanwhile, Malek Investment Group, LLC proposes 6th & A, a 43-story, 401-foot-tall residential tower composed of 389 units, with 33 affordable ones. It would include 433 parking spaces. Their 29,750-square-foot site is located on the north side of A Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues in the Cortez neighborhood. The multiple amenities include an open space for pets on the eighth floor, with a drainage section connected to the sewer system.

Such projects provide some affordable units (in lieu of paying the required inclusionary housing fee to the city). They offer a remedy to the spiraling cost of apartment rentals. "CivicSD strongly encourages developers to include affordable units rather than pay the fee, but a majority of projects still pay the fee," said Brad Richter, assistant VP of planning. But some industry experts contend these affordable units are insufficient.

Former CivicSD president Jeff Graham, now executive director of real estate at UCSD, told the Reader: “While developers providing 10-20 percent of inclusionary affordable units may not seem like enough (it’s not) to solve SD’s housing crisis for average workers, every little bit helps.” He elaborated: “Cities’ — not just SD’s but all cities in SD County — community plans desperately need to be updated with zoning along commercial corridors that allow for greater density, provided the project delivers high-quality design and respects the needs of the community in which it’s built.”

Gary Smith is president of the San Diego Downtown Residents Group. Regarding affordable units, Smith says, “It’s better included than [the developer] paying the fee; at least they will get built.”

Graham says moving up does create vacancies for others: “Delivering more moderately priced housing will allow average-wage-earning households to obtain new housing and vacate older housing that can become available to those households that may be living in subpar housing, homeless, or on the verge of homelessness.”

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Comments
9

Affordable housing in San Diego.....I don't think so. SD like SF and LA will only be homes to the well off. The up and coming "creative class" is moving inland to places like Cathedral City and high desert towns.

June 9, 2017

Yes, I think you're right about that. Esp. those who either open up a small business, work in healthcare/tourist industry/food, or work on a "virtual" basis.

June 9, 2017

There are several inter-related problems with this analysis.

First, none of this new construction is "moderately priced housing." Every one of these high rises is advertised with the words exclusive and luxury for a reason. And no wonder: construction costs go up in direct proportion to height.

Second is that banks are not interested in lending to build "moderately priced housing." They're only interested in maximized return; and the margins for anything that meets the needs of the 99% isn't enough for them. Unless there is a return to serious and sustained government-led financing for affordable housing, the market absolutely will not solve the problem.

Third, natural demand for housing is being warped by international investors looking for safe places to park their money. If there isn't some kind of reverse occupancy tax or other serious financial mechanism to protect and encourage housing for shelter rather than investment, absentee owners will continue to consume close to half of all new housing built.

And finally, this means changing community plans to allow for density means that, unless an area is being rezoned from industrial to mixed residential, that affordable existing housing will be destroyed and replaced with exclusive, luxury developments. Targeting areas already heavily infilled, like North Park and Hillcrest, precisely because they're established and popular will result in lower net project units and only make the crisis worse.

June 9, 2017

You perhaps misread the article, which mentioned the number of affordable units being offered in the two towers. Compared to the full-rent prices, the included affordable apts. could well be considered "moderately priced housing." Many of the new high-rise residential towers being built in SD are apartments, not condos. So those units would not have absentee owners. As for the two projects, their applications refer to "residential" but don't specify if they'll be apartments or condos. I believe sometimes this may be determined later on.

June 9, 2017

I don't believe I did. Including token amounts of affordable housing for gimme variances to skirt other quality-of-life zoning requirements is bad enough. But as these numbers show, developers aren't even "providing 10-20 percent of inclusionary affordable units." These two projects have just 67 out of 773 affordable—only 8.7%. So again, when these projects replace "older housing that" could have "become available," it's fatuous for apologists to claim "every little bit helps."

And whether the new units are condos that will be individually leased by absentee landlords (if they don't just keep them empty—see the links in my original comment) or apartments, the point is that the market will ensure that rents are exorbitant to cover for the overhead of development and provide an appreciable profit margin.

Again, unless we look at all the market forces in action and actively address their effects, we will never create adequate affordable housing.

June 10, 2017

We really don't disagree overall. Yes, there needs to be a big change, so that thousands of residential units become affordable. Otherwise, SD just becomes like San Francisco, New York, Silicon Valley, LA, etc. where only the rich can live comfortably and safe. Is a "Blade Runner" future what we want?

June 10, 2017

Hmm. No more Bosa towers? I wonder what city the pirate of Vancouver is pillaging and pilfering now that he has taken all the low hanging fruit from San Diego.

June 9, 2017

Mike Murphy on Facebook: Yes, who wants to pay top dollar for a luxury apartment with a great view, when a couple of years later your view gets blocked by another high-rise project? The best rule of thumb is: Don't pay extra for the wonderful view!

June 17, 2017

Sign in to comment

Sign in

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