Affirmed Housing is building an affordable housing complex in the Cortez Hill neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Affirmed Housing.

Affirmed Housing is building an affordable housing complex in the Cortez Hill neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Affirmed Housing.

San Diego’s supply of affordable housing is getting a boost with the completion of a Mission Valley complex in Sudberry Properties’ Civita development and the start of construction of a high-rise apartment building on the edge of Little Italy.

With construction set for completion in October 2022, Affirmed Housing is building a $39 million affordable complex, The Helm, at the corner of Front Street and Beech Street at 191 West Beech St.

The seven-story project in the Cortez Hill neighborhood will include 77 studio apartments with 35 apartments geared toward people who work downtown and 32 apartments set aside for low income renters with vouchers provided through the San Diego Housing Commission.

Jimmy Silverwood, executive president of Affirmed Housing, said The Helm is unusual because it includes apartments that are targeting people who earn up to 80% of the area median income while affordable housing projects typically target people earning less.

For a single person, that would be someone with an annual income up to $64,700.

“These especially will be serving somebody living and working in downtown San Diego for minimum wage jobs,” Silverwood said.

Apartments in The Helm will range from 283 square feet to 479 square feet, said Cristina Martinez, project manager for Affirmed Housing.

Monthly rents will range $1,148 to $1,491 on the apartments not covered by vouchers, Martinez said.

Rents on the others will be set according to a San Diego Housing Commission schedule based on income.

The complex will include a third-floor courtyard, a laundry room, a clubhouse, a community lounge and a multi-purpose room.

Because the project is along a marked city bikeway on Beech Street, the project will include a first-floor bike maintenance shop that Martinez said could be used by residents and others “if they need to pump up their tires or anything.”

Dual Projects

In by far the bigger of the two latest affordable housing projects, Chelsea Investment Corp. and Sudberry Properties in late March opened the $155 million side-by-side Siena apartment building for seniors and Stylus for families.

Combined, Siena and Stylus have 306 apartments – 203 in Stylus and 103 in Siena.

Stylus also includes 37,000 square-feet of retail space that is being leased to LA Fitness.

The apartments in Siena range from 540 square feet to 783 square feet and are meant for seniors with annual incomes up to 60% of the area median income. That would be up to $48,540 for one person and $55,440 for a two-person household.

Monthly rents at Siena start at $468.

Stylus includes a mix of two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 770 square feet to 1,040 square feet with monthly rents starting at $1,037. The apartments are meant for families with annual incomes from 50% to 60% of the area median income.

For families of four, that would be between $57,750 and $69,300.

Each building has a clubroom with kitchen, onsite management, a computer lab, laundry rooms on each floor, outdoor courtyards, fitness center and outdoor entertaining areas.

Blending In

The affordable housing in Civita was built to meet city inclusionary housing rules, but Colton Sudberry, president of Sudberry Properties said that Stylus and Siena were built sooner than the rules required.

Sudberry said the timing and location of Stylus and Siena within Civita were chosen so the affordable housing projects would blend in with the rest of the development.

“Stylus and Siena apartments are located in an enviable location, within a three minute walk of the award-winning Civita Park and the new K-5 elementary school, which is under construction,” said Jim Schmid, founder and CEO of Chelsea Investment.

The two buildings are in what Sudberry said was the heart of Civita on Russell Park Way between Civita Boulevard and Friars Road.

“It turned out beautiful. You can’t tell the difference from this affordable housing project and the full market housing across the street,” Sudberry said a virtual opening of the project. “We wanted to make sure we had exceptional architecture. We didn’t way Siena and Stylus to look different from the full market housing.”

Emmerson Construction was the general contractor on Stylus and Siena. Also working on the project were KTGY Architecture + Planning, Gouvis Engineering Company, and Schmidt Design Group for landscape architecture.

Funding partners included Citi Community Capital and Raymond James. Loans received through the Affordable Housing Program administered by FHLB-San Francisco and Citi National Bank also were used for Stylus.

Torrey Pines Bank provided financing on the retail portion of the development.