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San Diego
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Former Vista Church Site to be Redeveloped

REAL ESTATE: $90M Affordable Housing Project Coming to Vista

An Encinitas real estate investment firm is planning to build an $85 million to $90 million apartment complex in the middle of a circular site at the edge of downtown Vista.

Gregory Drakos
Managing Partner
Cross Real Estate Investors

Planned by Cross Real Estate Investors, construction on the 2.91-acre circular site is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2024 and take 18 months to two years to complete, said Gregory Drakos, managing partner of Cross Real Estate Investors.

The circular site is on Eucalyptus Avenue where it meets South Indiana Avenue and Park Avenue, with Oceanview Drive forming the southeastern border of the circle. The site has been the home of the New Community Church of Vista, which Drakos said is relocating. The existing church buildings will be razed.

Called Park Avenue, the apartment complex will have two side-by-side buildings arranged in a wing formation, so the buildings don’t look too massive.

“One of the big benefits in utilizing this concept of having wings on the building is that looking at it from any angle, you don’t see the entire building as one structure,” Drakos said.

The four-story buildings will also have “pretty significant setbacks” to make them appear less imposing to pedestrians.

“The big take-away in terms of the architecture and what we heard from the community is this is two projects in one,” Drakos said. “The site being a circle is very unique and we feel we have a lot more responsibility to deliver a great project.”

Kudos to City

Drakos said that the site is in a transition area between single-family homes to the east and south and a commercial area to the north and west.

“We wanted to be really sensitive about that transitional nature of the site, so we thought a two-building design would best serve the project,” Drakos said. “Each of the buildings is set down almost one floor below grade to reduce that height down as much as possible.”

To acknowledge the transition from residential to more urban, Drakos said that the portion of the project facing the commercial area will be the more active area, with a swimming pool and barbecue areas for residents to gather while the eastern portion of the project will be more passive in keeping with the residential nature of its neighbors.

“There’s no barbecues, there’s no games, there’s nothing that would cause a lot of noise facing the community,” Drakos said.

About 34% of the site will also be preserved as green space, giving the development the park-like feel from which it takes its name.

“We’re delivering a significant increase in open space in order to break up the site,” Drakos said.

Public improvements will include new sidewalks, a pedestrian plaza, decorative crosswalks, new streetlights and a new bus stop.

Park Avenue will have a combination of market-rate and affordable apartments, with 18 apartments earmarked for tenants with annual incomes of 50% or less of the area median income, currently $52,000 for a two-person household and $65,050 for a family of four.

It will have a mix of one-bedroom apartments averaging 650 square feet and two-bedroom apartments of up to 1,000 square feet, Drakos said. Rents haven’t been set.

All of the apartments will have balconies and washers and dryers. Amenities will include a community room, coworking space, and a pet walk.

Drakos said that likely tenants would be “younger folks who want to live in a walkable area” and small families looking for apartments that are more affordable than in coastal areas.

The project will also have a hidden parking garage tucked between the apartment buildings, with 246 spaces for tenants and 44 public parking spaces, 36 bicycle parking spaces on site and electric vehicle charging stations.

KTGY, based in Irvine, is the architect on the project, Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering, based in Scripps Ranch, is the civil engineer, GMP Landscape Architecture is the landscape architect, and LLJ Ventures, based in downtown San Diego is the capital partner.

Approved by the Vista Planning Commission in April, Drakos credited city officials for working with his firm on Park Avenue, adding that Vista was “one of the most collaborative cities in terms of their staff. They’re very engaged. That goes a long way in delivering a better project.”

Cross Real Estate Investors

Founded: 2020
Headquarters: Encinitas
Managing Partner: Gregory Drakos
Business: Multi-family housing developer
Employees: 4
Notable: The team at Cross Real Estate Investors has more than 75 years of combined experience as investors, developers and builders.



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