A longtime developer of market-rate housing in San Diego County – Jimmy Ayala – has switched to focus on affordable housing as chief operating officer of Chelsea Investment Corp.
Ayala’s move from Tri Pointe Homes, where he was division president, is part of a restructuring of Chelsea Investment’s executive team, spurred in part by the retirement of founder and CEO, Jim Schmid.
“Jimmy’s recognition and history as a true leader in the real estate business makes his appointment as chief operating officer at Chelsea a tremendous asset to our executive team and the direction we want to move forward from here,” said Schmid, who founded Chelsea Investment in 1984.
“We are doing larger and more complex projects and welcome the opportunity to add his skills in the market rate world to ours,” Schmid said. “We have developed a relationship with Jimmy over many years of developing affordable projects with Tri Pointe as a client.”
Schmid will continue as chairman of the board of Chelsea Investment. Replacing him as CEO will be his son, Charles Schmid, who has been with Chelsea Investment since 1986 and is president of Chelsea’s affiliated general contractor, Emmerson Construction.
New Chief Investment Officer
Cheri Hoffman has been appointed chief investment officer and will continue as president of the company.
Charles Schmid said that he is planning “no big changes” at the company as he assumes the top spot.
“We’re busy right now closing a lot of deals,” Schmid said. “We have a record number of closings this year. We’re looking at closing 12 projects this year, so that’s the focus, it’s getting through that.”
Ayala’s appointment as chief operating officer comes after Chelsea Investment was chosen to develop the first affordable housing project as part of San Diego State University’s Mission Valley development that will ultimately include 80 acres of parks and open space, up to 4,600 market-rate and affordable housing units, 1.6 million square feet of research space, 90,000 square feet of retail space and a hotel.
Chelsea also was awarded the contract to develop the affordable housing component of Midway Rising – the team selected by San Diego officials to redevelop the 48-acre site of the Sports Arena.
In part because of his previous relationship with Chelsea, Ayala said that the switch to developing affordable housing “definitely aligns with the passion I have for affordable housing and have had for a while.”
“After 20-plus years providing housing to those who want housing to being involved with a company that provides housing to those who need housing was a driver for me,” Ayala said, adding that many of the skills he used with Tri Pointe easily transfer to Chelsea Investment.
“Real estate development is real estate development,” Ayala said.
Ayala earned a bachelor’s degree in city, urban, community and regional planning from California State Polytechnic University and a master’s degree in business administration from San Diego State University.
A Chula Vista native, Ayala has deep roots in the construction industry. His wife, Jennifer Ayala, is a principal and founder of Nexus Planning & Research in downtown San Diego and his father was a laborer. Ayala said that he often worked on job sites with his father when Ayala was in high school.
“He encouraged me to get an education,” Ayala said. “He encouraged me to do better, and I took that seriously.”
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