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Gaslamp Office Building Converted to Micro Apartments

REDEVELOPMENT: $8M Renovation Maintains Restaurant

A four-story Gaslamp Quarter office building has been converted into micro-apartments, keeping a popular Brazilian steak restaurant on the ground floor.

A partnership of Urban Coastal Development and the Kitzman family of La Mesa bought the building at 939 4th Ave. in 2019 for $9 million and spent $8 million renovating it, according to Jacob Schwartz, president of Urban Coastal Development.

Jacob Schwartz
President
Urban Coastal Development

Named Hue for its multi-colored facade, the design of the renovated building is unusual because a “light well” was created on one side of the building by moving one wall that abutted an adjacent building to create an open space between them.

This allowed huge photos to be mounted on the wall facing nine of the building’s 27 apartments to give people who live in them something other than a blank wall to look at.

“We cut a large hole in the roof to enable us to put residential units on that side of the project, the south side. When you’re looking out the window, instead of looking at a concrete brick wall, you’re looking at (photos of) the Coronado Bridge, the downtown skyline, a La Jolla ocean view at the cove, and Avalon Bay casino,” Schwartz said.

Patriotic Facade

Known originally as the Rady O’Neal Building, Schwartz said the building had been used for law offices when it was built in 1980 and had a speakeasy in the basement.

Schwartz said about half of the basement has been converted for use as a storage area for tenants, with about 1,200 square feet set aside for commercial use.

“It would work well for a kava bar or any kind of speakeasy or a hair salon or a tattoo parlor – those kinds of things would work well down there,” Schwartz said.

The top three floors of the building were gutted during the renovation.

“We left the ceilings in the apartments exposed and painted them flat black to give them a loft look,” Schwartz said. “Nine of the units on the front along the 4th Avenue side have almost floor-to-ceiling, wood frame windows that are really special to the project. They’re custom wood frame windows. The top floors have big, arching windows.”

The exterior of Hue is brick with red, white, and blue trim – the colors chosen as a nod to the city’s military heritage.

‘It’s very American, it speaks to the history of downtown,” Schwartz said.

The apartments were kept small to keep rental rates down, with monthly rents ranging from $1,900 to $2,750, Schwartz said, targeting what he said was “the missing middle rent bracket.”

The apartments range from 240 square feet to 400 square feet with nine apartments per floor.

939 4th LLC / Kitzman Schwartz

Founded: 2019
Headquarters: San Diego
Manager: Urban Coastal Development, Inc. (Jacob Schwartz)
Partners: Kitzman Schwartz
Business: Development
Employees: 4
Contact: 619-977-1818
Website:  www.urbancoastal.com
Notable: KItzman Schwartz projects include adaptive reuse of older buildings in urban neighborhoods.

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