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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Little Italy Tower Will Go to New Heights

Trammell Crow Residential’s Southern California Division has started construction of a 36-story apartment tower in Little Italy.

Named Simone, this will be Trammell Crow Residential’s biggest project in San Diego, the tallest apartment tower in Little Italy and among the tallest buildings downtown.

“This is one of the few sites in Little Italy where a project of this scale and height is permitted, providing for spectacular unobstructed views and a unique residential experience in an A+++ residential market,” said Jessica Cassolato, development associate for Trammell Crow Residential.

Construction is expected to be finished in 2023.

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With “a striking, nearly all glass façade,” Cassoloto said Simone is meant to be “an impressive addition to the city skyline.”

The project will have 358 market rate apartments, five penthouses and 32 affordable apartments.

The company won’t say how much it will cost to build nor will they say what they’ll charge in monthly rent.

The Site

Taking up a little more than a half-acre, the project is bounded by Union, Ash and Front streets taking up half a city block.

The site had been home to Aladdin Bail Bonds and several other tenants in flex-industrial buildings razed to make room for Simone.

The 612,000 square-foot Simone at 1401 Union Street was designed by Joseph Wong Design Associates, headquartered in downtown San Diego.

“Our concept is really to come up with an iconic, modern tower that could become a landmark,” Wong said, adding that the location “is as good as it gets and that it “demanded a modern, iconic structure.”

“We have a very talk tower. Visually, it’s going to be very interesting, especially from the very top, the 36th and 35th floor,” Wong said. “It should be a really unique project for downtown San Diego.”

Because the building is elevated over a parking garage, Wong said that “pretty much every unit has a nice view.”

Simone is a joint venture among Trammell Crow Residential, Pacific Life Insurance and AAA Management.


With 30 floors of apartments atop three levels of underground parking and four-levels of above-ground parking with a total of 442 parking spaces, Simone is designed to be LEED Gold certified, signifying its energy efficiency.

The apartments will range from 577 square-foot studios to 1,097 square-foot two-bedroom apartments.

The five penthouse flats on the top three floors will be 1,500 square feet and face west.

All of the apartments will have floor-to-ceiling windows and ceilings of nine to 10 feet. The penthouse apartments will have ceilings of more than 15 feet in the penthouse units.

About 95% of the apartments also will have balconies with glass railings. Most have water views.

The apartments will have gourmet kitchens, stainless steel appliances, hard-surface flooring, walk-in closets, and spa-inspired baths.

Shared amenities will include a landscaped rooftop pool, spa and entertainment area, a Sky Club with panoramic views of the city and an adjacent deck with barbecues, fire pits, and gathering spaces that face west for the best view.

“We really wanted to emphasize the outdoors,” Wong said.

There’s also a gourmet demonstration kitchen, indoor and outdoor lounges and dining areas, a fitness center, a 100,000 square-foot outdoor lounge with a movie projector screen, a dog park, pet lounge and spa, Amazon lockers, a bicycle repair shop with storage and a coworking business center.

Cassoloto said Simone “has more amenity space than any other project in Little Italy.”


Swinerton Builders is the general contractor. Also working on the project are Nasland Engineering based in Kearny Mesa, EPT Designs of Pasadena landscape architects, and Parisa O’Connell Design of San Francisco.

Trammel Crow Residential’s other project in San Diego is Alexan, an East Village residential tower with 313 apartments finished in 2018.

Including Simone, the company has nearly 6,800 apartments in various stages of development in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

According to some reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has led some prospective renters to look more to suburban markets than core urban centers.

Cassolato of Trammel Crow Residential declined to say if the pandemic has had any effect on their latest San Diego project, but she said that Little Italy has both the excitement of an urban site and many of the aspects that make the suburbs attractive.

“Little Italy is the best of both worlds. Offering a walkable neighborhood experience in a live-work-plan environment,” Cassolato said. 


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