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5 Affordable Housing Developments Planned For Downtown San Diego In 2019

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Downtown San Diego has seen its fair share of rapid construction growth in the last few months, if not years. However, the expense of living downtown continues to surge at a record pace. Naturally, we would expect the rent prices to decrease because there appears to be an oversupply of housing downtown. But, according to Rent Data, the average studio rental in downtown is $1333 while a two bedroom goes for a staggering $1938 per month.

Due to a continuous rise in living costs and without wages offsetting these costs, the City of San Diego and Civic San Diego has incentivized developers to construct affordable housing in the downtown community. The effort is not only to curb the rising costs but also help with the perverse issue of homelessness. A talking point among people who live downtown is the fear of getting priced out of where they live because, if the housing costs keep going up, they fear they could eventually become homeless.

Below is a list which contains 5 affordable housing developments that have been granted permit approvals for construction or are seeking approvals.

#1. 13th & Broadway

First on the list is 13th and Broadway designed by Joseph Wong and Associates (JWDA). Chelsea Investment Corporation plans to construct a 14-story mid-rise at the corners of Broadway Boulevard, 13th and 14th street.Smart Farms currently leases the land from the city and would be forced to seek a new location when construction begins.

Back in 2006, the previous redevelopment agency for the City of San Diego acquired the land from the city using redevelopment low and moderate income housing funds and unrestricted redevelopment funds for a future mixed-use project that includes affordable housing and a fire station. In 2013, the land was reconveyed back to the city and subsequently included the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP).

On November 6, 2017, Chelsea then entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the city to negotiate a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA). Civic San Diego was the agency that negotiated the DDA for an exchange of property and development of the proposed fire station. Ultimately, Chelsea’s request for construction permits and the DDA was approved on February 9, 2019.

There will be a total of 273 residential units, 99% or 270 units will be designated for strictly affordable rentals (very low income) with 133 of those units being permanent supportive units. As part of the development, there will be 64 car parking spaces available for residents and a 3,200 SF ground level leasable commercial space. We expect construction to commence by mid-2020.

Qualifying factors to rent at this development will be based on unit size and income, below is the approved proposal for the rent schedule pursuant to State of California Density Bonus Law provisions and *area median income.

#2. The Beacon

Second is The Beacon designed by M.W. Steele Group is located at 1425 C Street. Wakeland Housing and Development started work on the property in the summer of 2018 and is soon nearing its completion. The property is deed restricted to provide permanent supportive services and will serve as housing for homeless individuals.

The developer noted that support services include on-site counseling and as a result, there is a critical maximum number of residents that can be served by the housing development to ensure the success of the residents and community as a whole. More appropriately, a range of no more than 40 to 50 units is appropriate to serve this population.

There will be a total of 44 residential units each sized at 350 SF with 1 unit reserved for the community manager sized at 770 SF. As part of the development, there will be 8 car parking spaces available and we expect construction to conclude by mid-2019. The cost to develop this property is estimated at $16.9M.

#3. 14th & Commercial

Father Joe’s Village has partnered up with Chelsea Development to seek approvals for the construction of one of Downtowns biggest affordable housing developments. 14th and Commercial designed by Joseph Wong and Associates (JWDA) will be located at the corner of 14th and Commercial street which is accessible to the MTS trolley line.

Civic San Diego held a staff meeting on February 22nd, 2019 to grant approval for the revised design. The final permit approval is expected to be granted soon which will allow the developer to break ground thereafter.

Proposed for The Developments re-design is a 14 story (162 FT) mid-rise that will comprise of 407 affordable dwelling units, of which 403 will be affordable. 99 parking spaces along with 4,930 SF of commercial space is planned for the development and a noteworthy change to the facade of the main building is the green color scheme changing to blue.

#4. 17th & G

Fourth on the list is 17th and G dubbed “The Link”. Affirmed Housing is seeking a re-design permit to construct an estimated $32.5M housing development designed by Carrier Johnson + Culture. The Development is located at the Northeast corner of 17th and G streets and part of the Makers Quarter district.

Affirmed is proposing a 7 story (83 FT) low-rise that will comprise of 88 affordable dwelling units, of which 62 units will be for 40% or below area median income (AMI) and 24 units will be for 50% or below AMI. In addition to the dwelling units, a multipurpose common space will be located on the ground level, each level will have a shared laundry space and 65 parking spaces will be part of The Development.

#5. Front & Beech

Last on the list is Front and Beech which recently received permit approvals for construction. Similar to #4’s 17th and G, the same developer and architect collaborated to develop the Front and Beech project located in Cortez Hill, right on the east border of Little Italy. It lies at the corners of the project namesake, Front and Beech street.

Affirmed is proposing a 7 story (95 FT) low-rise that will comprise of 78 dwelling units, of which 76 units will be studios and affordable, 1 two-bedroom, and 1 one-bedroom. There will be 5 car parking spaces and 36 bicycle parking spaces. The total estimated cost to develop this property is $36,923,820

There you have it, that is your list of 5 affordable housing developments currently in the works for Downtown San Diego.

For information on the average rent prices in San Diego and other areas, visit Rent Data (

To stay engaged with other neighbors in the community, consider signing up on the Nextdoor neighborhood website using this link below:

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