SAN DIEGO – A $233.5 million Clairemont affordable housing development is taking shape with construction slated to start in November on the final of the four separate buildings.
Built by Chelsea Investment Corp., based in Carlsbad, the Mount Etna campus will ultimately have 404 apartments at the corner of Mount Etna Drive and Balboa Avenue.
“The whole vision is now coming into shape,” said Heidi Mather, Chelsea Investment’s director of development.
Terrasini will be “the last piece of the Mount Etna puzzle,” Mather said.
Construction of the first three buildings of the campus began in July and is scheduled for completion in March 2026, according to Cheri Hoffman, president and chief investment officer of Chelsea Investment.
In December, Chelsea Investment was awarded $7.25 million from the San Diego County Innovative Trust Fund for construction of Terrasini, the final building on the campus, Hoffman said.
Just this month, Chelsea received $825,000 from the City of San Diego Bridge to Home Program to go toward construction of Terrasini, Mather said.
Estimated to cost $46 million, Terrasini will have 94 apartments for low-income renters aged 62 and older and a manager’s apartment.
The five-story building will have 20 studio apartments, 74 one-bedroom apartments, and a two-bedroom manager’s apartment.
The apartments in Terrasini and its sister building on the Mount Etna campus, Messina Senior Apartments with 95 apartments, will be earmarked for renters with annual incomes ranging from 30% to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), as determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That range in 2023 was $28,950 to $57,900 for individuals and $33,100 to $88,200 for two-person households. AMI figures have yet to be determined for 2024.
Two of the four buildings on the campus, Taormina Family Apartments, with 136 units and Modica Family Apartments, with 94 apartments, will be for low-income families.
They will include 56 apartments set aside for people with intellectual or physical disabilities.
The combination of family and senior apartments on the same site is meant to create an intergenerational community rather than separating the two groups, Mather said.
“This is how you live in a neighborhood. You’ve got all different age groups,” Mather said.
Amenities, Services for Seniors
A 3,008-square-foot senior center is also being built on the ground floor of Messina Senior Apartments.
The senior center will serve residents of the Mount Etna campus and will be open to the community at large for people 60 and older.
Social services to all campus residents will be provided by Serving Seniors, a San Diego nonprofit agency.
“You’ll have programming to have the seniors, the families, and the children interact with each other,” Mather said.
Chelsea had planned to build all four apartment buildings at the same time, but Terrasini was delayed pending financing.
Designed by The McKinley Associates architects, based in Little Italy, the buildings have stucco exteriors, and every apartment will have a balcony.
Campus amenities will include a community room, a computer lab, laundry rooms, and a pet relief area, 302 parking spaces and multiple courtyards.
The site had been home to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Regional Crime Laboratory, which relocated in 2018 to the county’s Operations Center at 5590 Overland Ave.
The old crime lab was demolished, clearing the site for the affordable housing campus.
Chelsea Investment Corporation
CEO: Charles Schmid
BUSINESS: developer specializing in affordable housing
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org; 760-456-6000
NOTABLE: Chelsea Investment Corp. has invested more than $3 billion to develop more than 15,000 apartments for low-income seniors, families, people at risk of becoming homeless, and homeless veterans.