Construction has finished on a Bankers Hill apartment tower heralded by its developers as having the highest elevation in San Diego because the site is on a hill.
At 20 stories, the $100.2 million apartment tower known simply by its address – 525 Olive – is far from the tallest measured from the ground to its rooftop but it does give a higher vantage point than any other, said Raul Tamez, director of development for Greystar.
“Because we’re up on Bankers Hill, we are at an elevation that is higher than most of the tall buildings downtown plus the 20 stories of our elevation,” Tamez said. “Our 20 stories at the roof of our building is the tallest in the city and affords you views that you couldn’t get from any other building.”
Greystar built 525 Olive in an unusual partnership with St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, which is adjacent to the 300,000 square-foot apartment tower.
Greystar bought the site from St. Paul’s for an undisclosed price and owns most of the tower and a parking garage but St. Paul’s owns 18,500 square feet of the tower on the two lower levels, part of which it will use for administrative offices and part of which Tamez said it will lease out as retail space.
The cathedral’s agreement with Greystar also gives it the use of 70 of the 348 parking spaces in a 148,000-square-foot underground garage, Tamez said.
“It’s a unique relationship,” Tamez said. Because of the project’s connection to the cathedral, 525 Olive was “a once in a lifetime project,” he added.
“You don’t want to let the cathedral down. St. Paul’s has been in the community forever and is an incredibly well respected organization,” Tamez said. “We did not take their partnership lightly.”
Built in 1951 in a neo-gothic style, the cathedral’s look has been blended into the design of the apartment tower with elements such as archways on a tower sky deck that play off the archways in the cathedral.
The overall building design was by Joseph Wong Design Associates with interior design by Jules Wilson Design Studio.
The building has 204 apartments in a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom floor plans.
With monthly rents ranging from $2,400 to $13,350 for a top floor penthouse, these apartments are hardly for the budget conscious, but the project does include 18 affordable apartments for people with annual incomes below 50% of the Area Median Income.
The apartments range from 533 square feet to 1,625 square feet. The apartments have balconies and the interiors have floor-to-ceiling glass.
When 525 Olive opened in mid-August, the tower was more than 40% leased, Tamez said.
Amenities include the rooftop SkyClub that includes a swimming pool and lounge, an indoor-outdoor fitness center, a dog run and pet spa.
Built across the street from Balboa Park on the 6th Avenue side, the project also has a community park of about 15,000 square feet that’s open to the public
525 Olive was built in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a slew of problems.
“The building turned out incredibly beautiful but we changed almost every single material inside and out through the course of construction,” Tamez said. “We had lots of stuff coming from China. Then China shut down.”
To avoid supply chain delays, Tamez said that Greystar ordered equipment and appliances well ahead of when they were needed and stored them.
Despite the COVID challenges, the project finished on time and on budget. “The Greystar construction team deserves the bulk of the credit,” Tamez said.
CEO: Bob Faith
Headquarters: Charleston, SC
Business: Real estate investment, development and management of rental housing
Notable: Greystar manages and operates more than $165 billion of real estate assets in 200 markets worldwide.