Affordable-housing complex in San Ysidro breaks ground

Construction has begun in San Ysidro on an apartment complex that will offer affordable housing for low-income residents.

Located on Seaward Avenue near the Beyer Boulevard trolley station, the 137-unit Paseo La Paz complex is also geared toward residents who use public transportation.

“(The development) is reflective of this kind of community,” said Frank Urtasun, chairman of the San Diego Housing Commission’s board.

The $43 million development, in the works since 2016, is a partnership between the San Diego Housing Commission and Chelsea Investment Corp.

The three-story building will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with energy-efficient appliances, windows and climate control systems.

Plans also include community spaces such as a lounge, a computer lab and outdoor recreation spaces, including a play area for children.

Residents who earn less than 60 percent of the region’s median income — about $58,000 for a family of four — will qualify for the affordable housing.

Rent will range between $900 a month for one bedroom and $1,200 for three bedrooms.

Casa Familiar, a San Ysidro-based social services nonprofit, will offer adult education programs and other services for residents.

“We do hope that we can do a project that really, really adds to the community in very important ways,” said James Schmid, CEO of Chelsea Investment Corp.

The San Diego Housing Commission invested $9.25 million in the project, including $6.9 million from the city of San Diego’s Affordable Housing Fund and $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Investment Partnership Programs.

The San Diego Housing Commission also issued $28.6 million in mortgage revenue bonds approved by city leaders. Revenue from the development will be used to repay the bonds.

The funding sources from the Housing Commission require the apartments to remain affordable for 55 years. Urtasun said he anticipates the public housing agency will try to extend the commitment to affordable rates.

San Diego Councilman David Alvarez, whose district includes San Ysidro, said the development represents the future of affordable housing in communities like San Ysidro.

“The future of San Diego will be infill development — development like this one next to transit lines, trolley lines, in communities that already exist where the space is very limited, compact and you have to be really creative about how you build,” he said.

Urtasun shared similar sentiments, saying he sees the development as a model and anticipates more interest in housing projects located near public transit, particularly as cities push to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles.

“I think that you're going to see more interest in that and more use in public transportation,” he said. “And we're all going to benefit from it.”

Construction, which began Friday, is expected to be completed in November 2019.

Email: david.hernandez@sduniontribune.com

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