Hailed as part of a renaissance for downtown National City, construction is starting on an expansive urban village that will include two affordable housing apartment buildings by Community HousingWorks estimated to cost $85.7 million and $50 million clinic by San Ysidro Health.
The Kimball Master Plan as the project has been named also will include an 8,800-square-foot senior center.
Built across the street from City Hall, the project “will reshape the civic center portion of National City,” said Sean Spear, CEO of Community HousingWorks.
“It’s probably the biggest partnership development that we’ve done,” Spear said. “It’s creating a walkable urban village and a really health focused center for this otherwise health deprived community.”
At the heart of the project are the two apartment buildings that combined will have 145 apartments earmarked for low income families and seniors in a mix of studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, and three bedroom apartments.
Monthly rents will range from about $660 to $2,300 for people with annual incomes ranging from $27,330 to $63,770.
Construction of the two apartment buildings and the clinic will be concurrent and is expected to be finished by the second quarter of 2024, Spear said.
The project also will include new bikeways, pedestrian walkways and improvements to a transit station on Highland Avenue.
“It’s a very big deal for us. We have really felt very fortunate that we’ve had this partnership with National City,” Spear said.
The project has been in the works for at least 15 years, said Kevin Mattson, president and CEO of San Ysidro Health. “We started discussion in the city of National City when the redevelopment agencies were shut down,” Mattson said.
Mattson said that the two-story, 40,000-square-foot new health clinic will be “a major expansion” of the services San Ysidro Health offers in National City.
“National City is one of the most underserved communities in San Diego County, so there’s a huge need,” Mattson said, adding that “in South Bay, the numbers are skyrocketing in demand for programs for low income seniors.”
San Ysidro has 30 clinics throughout San Diego County but Mattson said the highest concentration of patients is in South County, where the agency was founded in 1969.
The first floor of the new clinic will be used to provide services to elderly patients in what’s called PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a program aimed at helping people who might otherwise end up in nursing homes.
“The goal is to keep them in the community,” Mattson said. “There’s a growing need for PACE services, for programs for seniors to keep them in the community.”
The second floor of the new clinic will be designated as a community health care center for low income families and individuals.
Services will include medical, dental and behavioral health care, and a diagnostic lab.
The clinic “is almost double from a cost perspective of anything we’ve done in the past,” Mattson said.
Spear said building the new health clinic on the same site as the apartment buildings is particularly significant. “There’s a ready-made population that will be able to walk over and take advantage of these programs in addition to everyone else in the area.”
The new project is next to two other affordable housing projects – Kimball and Morgan Towers near Kimball Park.
Speaking at an August groundbreaking for the project, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said that “by working with strong community partners like San Ysidro Health and Community HousingWorks, we know that we will get quality housing and excellent services that address our diverse families and elders’ needs while respecting our National City community culture.”
San Ysidro Health
CEO: Kevin Mattson
Headquarters: San Ysidro
Business: Nonprofit health care agency
Social impact: San Ysidro provides health care and dental services to low-income families and the elderly throughout San Diego County
Notable: San Ysidro Health provided services to 110,000 people in 2021 and expects to serve 150,000 people in 2022.
CEO: Sean Spear
Headquarters: Mission Valley
Business: Affordable housing developer and owner
Notable: Community HousingWorks owns more than 3,800 affordable apartments in 44 communities in California, serving nearly 10,000 working families, children and seniors.
Social impact: Partnering with a variety of social service agencies, Community HousingWorks provides people with stable homes in healthy communities and layer in powerful programs, services, and connections to resources.