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Saturday, May 18, 2024

CHW Completes Colorful Puesta Del Sol Project

REAL ESTATE: Linda Vista’s Largest New Construction in 30 Years

SAN DIEGO – Community Housing Works has completed a $36.9 million Linda Vista affordable housing project for seniors that replaced a run-down apartment complex built during World War II.

Puesta Del Sol, which means sunset in Spanish, is a sister-project to Amanecer, a $53 million housing complex with 96 apartments for low-income families, veterans and teenagers who are no longer eligible for foster care.

Stephen Swiecicki
Vice President
Community HousingWorks

Amanecer, which means sunrise, was finished last year by Community HousingWorks.

“We can look at this as an intergenerational project collectively,” said Stephen Swiecicki, vice president of Community HousingWorks. “There’s a lot of opportunities there for cross pollination of activities.”

The names of the complementary projects are partly a play on the ages of the residents.

The three-story Puesta Del Sol at 2601-2641 Ulric St. has 59 one-bedroom apartments of 500 square feet for low-income seniors with annual incomes of 30% to 60% of the Area Median Income, and one two-bedroom manager’s apartment.

Six of the apartments were set aside for chronically homeless individuals.

Amenities include a community room of about 2,000 square feet, a laundry room, a business center, a community kitchen, and a multi-purpose room on the second floor that opens out onto a balcony.

Combined with Amanecer at 2645 Ulric St., Puesta Del Sol “is the largest single new construction development in the Linda Vista area in over 30 years,” said Swiecicki said.

“It’s an area of older housing stock.”

The 36 apartments that were razed to make way for Puesta Del Sol were poorly maintained to the point where “it was almost unhealthy for the residents that lived there,” Swiecicki said. “The owner never took care of it prior to us coming in. This new project is certainly an improvement.”

People who were displaced by the new construction were given the option of leasing an apartment in the new buildings.

‘Health, Wellness’ Emphasis

Designed by Studio E Architects, based in Bankers Hill, Puesta Del Sol, like many of the buildings designed by the firm, has a mix of vibrant colors, inside and out.

“If you drive on Ulric Street now, when you get to this project and its companion, there’s a kind of real optimistic feeling,” said Studio E Principal Eric Naslund.

Eric Naslund
Studio E Architects

“It feels cheerful. It feels like it’s looking forward to the future,” Naslund said. “That’s really an important thing that we convey to people.”

The front façade of Puesta Del Sol along Ulric Street has a mix of orange and yellow panels with glass surrounding the doorway, offering a peek into portions of interior hallways that were painted blue.

The bright blue colors at the ends of hallways serve a dual purpose of brightening the space and helping people find their way to exits and entrances, said Studio E Principal Maxine Ward.

“All that light and color is kind of a natural draw to you to keep going,” Naslund said.

The open-ended corridors end at decks overlooking the courtyard and the adjacent Linda Vista Park.

A reading room and adjacent upper-level terrace provide quieter places for residents to socialize.

“Community honestly works when you make it really effortless for people to connect,” Naslund said. “It’s subtle, but it does make a big difference in the quality of life.”

The facade of the apartment portions of Puesta Del Sol is white, highlighted by yellow panels forming yellow horizontal stripes.

“In terms of the street presence, it was important that the residential units along the front felt private, so we created these quite large patios with decorative block walls,” Ward said.

Maxine Ward
Studio E Architects

Recessed balconies on some of the apartments break up the mass of the building and give it almost a townhome appearance from the street.

The building is L-shaped, wrapped around a courtyard that has planters, barbecue and picnic areas, a porch swing, and exercise equipment.

“There was a kind of emphasis on this project on health and wellness,” Ward said, adding that a fenced walking path surrounds the project.

A hallway connects the apartments on one side of the L to the community room, looking like it’s a separate building done in bright yellow with a butterfly roof and a glazed garage door that opens out to the central courtyard.

“We wanted the courtyard and the open space to have views of the park,” Ward said.

Puesta Del Sol, a $36.9 million affordable housing development in Linda Vista, has been completed by Community HousingWorks. Photo courtesy of Studio E Architects

Studio E Architects
PRINCIPALS: Eric Naslund, John Sheehan, Mathilda Bialk, and Maxine Ward
BUSINESS: Architecture
CONTACT: 619-235-9262
NOTABLE: The firm has received numerous design awards, including three National American Institute of Architects Honor Awards. The California Council of the American Institute of Architects named Studio E one of California’s Emerging Talents in 1999.

Community HousingWorks
CEO: Sean Spear
HEADQUARTERS: Mission Valley
BUSINESS: Affordable housing developer and owner
CONTACT: 619-282-6647
NOTABLE: Community HousingWorks owns more than 4,300 affordable apartments in 48 communities in California and Texas, serving nearly 12,000 working families, children and seniors.


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