San Diego

Chelsea Investment Corp Plans Affordable Housing Development in East Village

Chelsea Investment Corp. plans to build an affordable housing project on city-owned property at 13th Street and Broadway, adjacent to San Diego City College. If approved, the project will add about 275 affordable housing units and a new fire station to the East Village, according to the developer.

The 29,000 square-foot site includes several parcels one block from the City College Trolley Station. It will be a mixed-use project to include retail, affordable housing and an East Village Fire Station, according to a staff report on an exclusive negotiation agreement between the developer and the city. 

“Repurposing an under-utilized site to create transit-oriented housing that’s close to neighborhood amenities is a win-win for the community,” said Charles Schmid, Chelsea Investment Corp’s Chief Operating Officer. “This is a successful model that Chelsea continues to use with Civic San Diego and the city to address San Diego’s housing crisis.”

The city envisions building the East Village Fire Station on the 10,000 square foot mid-block northern parcel, which opens onto 13th Street, according to the staff report.

“Conceptually, it is envisioned that the Fire Station would be 2-3 stories and have a building footprint similar in size to the Bayside Fire Station, currently under construction at Pacific Highway and Cedar Street,” the November 2017 staff report states. The Bayside Fire Station was completed and opened earlier this year.

Aaron Bove, senior vice president of investments at Marcus & Millichap’s San Diego office, confirmed the proposed development will have more than 200 much-needed affordable housing apartments in the city’s East Village.

“I can’t tell you enough how it is an absolutely perfect location for this type of project,” said Bove.

East Village is in a transitional phase, Bove said, surrounded by many new construction projects, including condominium high-rises and public spaces. Directly across the street from the planned development, San Diego City College is in the midst of a $1.5 billion renovation to better serve its 15,000 community college students.

“There’s a huge crunch for this type of project and it will be great for the area,” Bove added.

Fix Auto, LLC sold the 13th Street  ¼ acre property to Chelsea Investment Corp for $4.5 million, Bove said. The city owns the second parcel on Broadway, and plans to lease it to Chelsea for development of a 14-15 story residential project, according to the developer.

A memo from the city’s downtown planning agency, Civic San Diego, to the City Council said the project will also include street-level retail uses and underground parking.

Bove represented Chelsea Investment and Fix Auto in the property transaction.

Previously, an auto body repair shop operated on the developer parcel where the Fire Station will be located, according to the staff report.

SmartFarms, a community garden, is currently leasing the property, where the new residential development is planned, from the City of San Diego. SmartFarms could not be reached for comment.

If approved, the affordable housing development will be located within one block of the City College Trolley Station, which services the orange and blue lines, stretching into San Ysidro and El Cajon.

The developer hopes to bring back finished plans for development to the City Council for final approval within a year.

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