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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

Affirmed Housing Completes $40.6M Micro-Apartments

REAL ESTATE: The Helm, Part of the Cortez Neighborhood, Targets Middle-Income Renters

Affirmed Housing has completed a $40.6-million Cortez neighborhood micro-apartment building on the edge of Little Italy that targets renters who may not qualify for subsidized housing but can’t afford to pay market rate rents.

Jimmy Silverwood
Affirmed Housing

“It’s a little bit different for us, it’s a little bit more tailored toward middle-income housing,” said Jimmy Silverwood, president of Affirmed Housing.

Based in Sabre Springs, Affirmed Housing typically builds affordable housing projects for very low to low-income tenants, often people who were homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.

“In terms of middle-income housing, let alone affordable in terms of micro-units, there’s not a lot of that being built,” Silverwood said.

At seven stories and nearly 50,000 square feet, The Helm, 191 Beech St., has 77 studio apartments, 41 of which are earmarked for persons with annual incomes at 80% of the area median income – $77,200 for one person.

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Of the rest, 32 are for those earning 30% of the area median income – $38,50 for a single-person household. Those apartments come with federal rent vouchers through the San Diego Housing Commission. The vouchers are tied to the apartments. When someone leaves, the voucher stays with the apartment for the next tenant to use.

Four of the apartments are set aside for those with annual incomes of 60% of the area median income, $57,900 for one person.

Monthly rents in the Helm range from $683 to $1,822, depending on income.

By comparison, Silverwood said that monthly rents for market rate apartments in nearby Little Italy are typically $3,000 or more.

Biking Encouraged

Designed by Carrier Johnson + Culture, the apartments in the Helm are small – ranging from 283 square feet to 489 square feet.

To make up for the small unit size, Silverwood said that Carrier Johnson and Affirmed paid special attention to include areas that would encourage people to gather.

“We worked pretty closely with them, really enhancing the community spaces and making it so folks don’t need to be in their unit, per se,” Silverwood said.

They include a multi-purpose room, a lounge, a clubhouse, a courtyard, and a laundry room.

The Helm has virtually no parking with only seven parking spaces “to encourage folks to get out of their cars and walk to a lot of nearby amenities,” Silverwood said. “There’s a lot of transportation options.”

Trolley and bus stops are within one-third of a mile from The Helm.

The project does have bicycle storage, and a marked bike lane runs in front of the building along Beech Street. There is also a first-floor bicycle repair shop that opens onto Beech Street where cyclists can work on their bikes.

“The concept was that folks using the bike lanes in that area, really the bike loop, would have an area where they could fix their bikes,” Silverwood said.

The Helm is GreenPoint Rated, a standard for energy efficient and sustainable multi-family housing.

Financing included a $4.2-million loan from the Housing Commission and 4% low-income tax credits administered through the California State Treasurer.

Additional financing came from the California Housing Finance Agency, US Bank, and the California Community Reinvestment Corp.

The Helm is among several downtown housing projects developed by Affirmed Housing, including Studio 15 with 275 apartments in East Village, Ten Fifty B, with 229 apartments on the edge of East Village, The Link, with 88 apartments in East Village, and Connections, with 223 apartments at 1250 6th Ave.

“We know downtown well. We’re going to continue to figure out innovative ways to develop affordable housing in downtown San Diego,” Silverwood said. “It’s needed throughout the city, but there needs to be affordable housing downtown.”

Affirmed Housing

CEO: Jim Silverwood
President: Jimmy Silverwood
Headquarters: Sabre Springs
Employees: 30
Contact: 858-679-2828
Website: www.affirmedhousing.com
Notable: Since 1992, Affirmed Housing has financed more than $2.8 billion in affordable housing projects and has more than 5,800 apartments developed or under development in 70 communities.


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