Construction to begin on City Heights affordable housing
Construction will soon be underway on 195 affordable apartments for low-income families and seniors at 4340 44th St., where San Diego’s Kensington, Talmadge and City Heights neighborhoods connect.
Situated at the corner of Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, the $81 million development features two distinctive, contiguous five-story buildings above a semi-subterranean parking structure for its future residents. One building will provide 78 two- and three-bedroom rental apartments for families, including one manager’s unit, while the adjoining building will offer 117 one-bedroom rental apartments for seniors, including two managers’ units. These affordable apartments are conveniently located across the street from the Copley-Price Family YMCA, near several bus stops and other neighborhood amenities.
Chelsea Investment Corp. is leading the development of the Mid-City Family Apartments and Mid-City Senior Apartments on behalf of Price Philanthropies Foundation, which donated the land and contributed vital funding. Serving Seniors is also a partner on the project and will provide comprehensive on-site services for both the senior and family apartments.
“When we acquired the land at Fairmount and El Cajon in 2009, we knew that its strategic location on El Cajon Boulevard could, with careful planning and design, be the place of a transformational community-oriented development,“ said Robert E. Price, President of Price Philanthropies Foundation. “After facilitating the development of the Copley Price Family YMCA in 2014, we wanted to ensure access to stable, quality affordable housing in Mid-City. We are excited to see 195 units of family and senior housing available in the community at rates that ensure accessibility.“
The 1.6-acre project was conceived in 2016, when Price Philanthropies Foundation retained Robert Wellington Quigley as executive architect. Since then, Quigley’s firm has worked with community planners to envision a cohesive mixed-use campus that includes such popular elements as an intergenerational garden, dedicated dog area, and a Town Square outdoor plaza.
All rents are significantly discounted from market rate and will remain affordable for at least 55 years for households earning between 40-60 percent of AMI (Area Median Income) for the senior building ($37,000 to $55,440 annually for a two-person household) and 50-60 percent of AMI for the family building ($57,750 to $69,300 annually for a four-person household).
Rents for the two- and three- bedroom family apartments are expected to range from approximately $1,200 to $1,600, while rents in the senior building will range from approximately $750 to $1,200 for one-bedroom apartments. All units include central heating and air, fully-equipped kitchens and window coverings.
“There is tremendous demand for affordable senior housing in San Diego with critical support services,” said Paul Downey, President & CEO of Serving Seniors. “We are proud to be both a development partner and service provider helping meet that need with this innovative project. It will set a new standard for creating community across generations.”
The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) awarded a loan of more than $6.7 million to support the development of Mid-City Senior Apartments, funded by HOME Investments Partnerships funds provided to the City by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, both of which SDHC administers. SDHC also authorized the issuance of more than $46 million in tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds toward creation of the apartments for both seniors and families. The City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, approved the bonds.
Other financing mechanisms for both developments include $4.5 million from the County’s Innovative Housing Trust Fund, donation of the land and additional funding from Price Philanthropies Foundation, tax credit equity and construction loans from US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, and permanent loans from Citi Community Capital.
General contractor Emmerson Construction will build both residential buildings concurrently.
“Mid-City Family and Mid-City Senior Apartments represent an intergenerational model that blends seniors and families to create an opportunity for residents of all ages to interact on a daily basis,” said Jim Schmid, Founder and CEO of Chelsea Investment Corp., a local developer credited with creating more than 11,000 affordable homes in San Diego and the western region. “With support from stakeholders like San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, along with vital services provided by Serving Seniors, this dynamic, supportive community will be an asset to San Diego for decades to come.”
The project is scheduled to open in mid-2022. Approximately six months prior to the completion, prospective residents can register their interest at conam.com.
Balboa Park’s central mesa, Prado Restaurant, parking lots reopen June 12
The restoration of San Diego’s public spaces to community use continues. Beginning Friday, June 12, visitors are once again welcome to explore the historic Central Mesa of Balboa Park.
Balboa Park Conservancy volunteers will be ready to greet visitors at the pop-up Visitors Center kiosk outside the House of Hospitality building, each day from 10am to 4pm. The Prado Restaurant is reopening as well, introducing “grab and go picnic basket” service and bringing back the popular dining spot inside the park’s cultural center, Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning at 12 noon and continuing service to late afternoon. The Japanese Friendship Garden Tea Pavilion and the Prado Perk Coffee Cart will also open on June 12 to serve park visitors. Watch for The Prado’s Summer Beer & Wine Garden coming to the Plaza de Panama soon.
All Balboa Park parking lots will be open at full capacity.
As normal activities gradually resume, the Balboa Park Conservancy encourages park users to follow state and local guidelines regarding physical distancing and mask wearing to ensure everyone’s safe and healthy enjoyment of San Diego’s favorite attraction.
It isn’t just visitors who are eager to get back to the park. In a recent survey conducted by the Conservancy, more than half its volunteers say they expect to keep the same number of volunteer hours in the park or increase them when it reopens. That includes hours staffing the Visitors Center kiosk, guiding visitors as Park Ambassadors, and monitoring our urban forest as Tree Stewards.
Details about the reopening and how to access different parts of the park safely can be found at the Virtual Visitors Center on the Conservancy’s website and on Balboa Park’s main website.
Virtual art galleries amplify students’ voices
On June 10, 2020, Words Alive launched the Novel Ideas virtual art gallery, showcasing artwork and writing from more than 400 students from throughout San Diego County, including those who attend Golden Hill K-8 School, High Tech High, Monarch School, and Lindsay Community School, among others.
Novel Ideas, located at wordsalive.org/novelideas, launches with three exhibits focused on themes of student activism, social distancing, and a love of reading:
The Future is Us: Listening to Our hearts as a Catalyst for Change celebrates student voices in grades 2–12 from three Title I San Diego schools that became activists as they connected what they read to the world using the power of art. This exhibit includes a video tour of their activism banners created using a printmaking technique, a collection of student letters to community leadership, a special message from local artists who designed the project, insight into the printmaking process with a step-by-step tutorial, suggested reading and thought questions, and more.
The Kids Reading to Kids exhibit highlights young voices building and practicing their own reading skills while bringing stories alive for younger children struggling with access to books and stories while schools and libraries are shuttered. This exhibit houses the growing collection of videos submitted by dozens of remarkable young people from across the United States finding their voice, and sharing their love of reading, during a time when we all could use a momentary escape to faraway places.
Covid Diaries by QuaranTEENS features a growing collection of the thoughts, writing, and reactions from young adults as they respond to “pandemic prompts” from Words Alive writing facilitators. The initial launch of this exhibit includes writing, images, and videos from 40 teens from High Tech High in San Diego with the hope that their voices will inspire teens around the globe to share their thoughts and concerns as well.
Words Alive is deeply committed to amplifying the voices of children and families that are not being heard. As such, an important aspect of the Novel Ideas virtual gallery is that it will be a dynamic exhibit, specifically designed to evolve and grow. There is information throughout the exhibits about how students can add their own writing and artwork to a particular project, and we are anticipating the gallery will eventually grow to include the work of hundreds and hundreds of more students by the end of summer.
Right now, perhaps more than ever, Words Alive feels a responsibility to give children and teens a chance to be seen and heard while many wrestle with feelings of helplessness, invisibility, and loneliness during social distancing.
Pride 5k goes virtual
San Diego Front Runners & Walkers are pleased to announce that their annual Pride 5K will be held virtually this year. Participants complete their own 5K during the weekend of San Diego Pride July 17-19, 2020. The charity goal is a combined total of $20k to The LGBT Center’s Youth Housing Project and San Diego Pride Community Grants.
All participants will receive an event neck gaiter, and can opt in for a race t-shirt and medal. As a virtual event, participants run or walk their 5K on Pride weekend, then upload their finishing results and can join online for a live streaming event on July 18.
“In addition to facing a greater risk of health complications as a result of COVID-19, LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the general population to lack access to adequate medical care, paid medical leave, and basic necessities during this pandemic,” Sarafina Scapicchio, San Diego Pride’s Director of Philanthropy, said. “That is why Pride is so proud to promote the Virtual Pride 5K this year – which not only helps our LGBTQ community members find healthy outlets like running or walking to manage stress in these difficult times, but also raises money for the free programs and services that San Diego Pride and The Center provide to the LGBTQ community. I am proud to be able to run this year for the first time, and I hope you will join me!”
The Youth Housing Project provides 23 units of affordable, supportive housing for high-risk LGBTQ+ youth. Many faced homelessness after being ejected from their homes because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
For more information about the Pride 5K, visit pride5k.run.
Millions in tax revenue from cannabis sales
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) reported revenue numbers today for cannabis sales for the 1st Quarter of 2020. As of May 15, 2020, California’s cannabis excise tax generated $68.3 million in revenue reported on the 1st Quarter 2020 returns due by April 30, 2020, and the cultivation tax generated $16.4 million.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a unique reporting period since approximately half of the taxpayers normally reporting have yet to file a return with the CDTFA. Revisions to first quarter data are expected in mid-August after the second quarter return filing due date of July 31.
Sales tax from cannabis businesses totaled $50.2 million in revenue for the same period. Sales tax applies to sales of cannabis, cannabis products, and other tangible personal property. Certain retail sales of medicinal cannabis are exempt from sales and use taxes when the purchaser provides at the time of purchase a valid Medical Marijuana Identification Card issued by the California Department of Public Health and a valid government-issued identification card.
Total tax revenue reported by the cannabis industry is $134.9 million for first quarter returns due by April 30, 2020. This does not include tax revenue collected by each jurisdiction. Previously reported revenue for 4th Quarter 2019 returns was revised to $177.3 million, which included $85.9 million in cannabis excise tax, $24.1 million in cultivation tax, and $67.3 million in sales tax. Revisions to quarterly data are the result of amended and late returns, and other tax return adjustments.
Since January 2018, total program revenue to date is $1.17 billion, which includes $569.8 million in cannabis excise tax, $140.2 million in cultivation tax, and $456.9 million in sales tax.
County Report: Indoor movie theaters can reopen today
Indoor movie theaters join a growing list of businesses that can begin to reopen Friday, June 12. Businesses must follow state guidelines and are required to fill out a Safe Reopening Plan before resuming operations.
Movie theater operators must limit the number of attendees in each theater to 25 percent of theater capacity or a maximum of 100 guests, whichever number is lower. They must also ensure employees and customers practice good hand hygiene, use face coverings when not eating or drinking, maintain physical distancing and are screened for symptoms.
“Several communities across the nation have seen a spike in case numbers after reopening their economies,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We need to remain vigilant and continue to use the measures that have slowed the spread of COVID-19.”
The following businesses can also begin to reopen June 12:
Bars and wineries
Swimming pools, including condominium and community pools
Hotels and other rental properties for tourism and individual travel
Card rooms, racetracks and satellite wagering facilities
Family entertainment (bowling alleys, batting cages)
Zoos, galleries, museums and aquariums
Professional sports without spectators
Steps for business owners to follow and guidance are on the county’s Safe Reopening Page.
The following activities are not permitted until further notice:
Nail and facial salons
Therapeutic massage businesses