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April 24, 2024

Groundbreaking Celebrates New Development to Provide 115 Affordable Rental Apartments across Four Sites in City Heights

San Diego Housing Commission awarded 48 rental housing vouchers and authorized Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to support this development

SAN DIEGO, CA — A new construction development that celebrated its groundbreaking today will transform four vacant sites along two major thoroughfares in City Heights into transit-oriented, affordable rental apartments for families with low income and veterans experiencing homelessness.

“I recognize that the first of every month, too many San Diegans worry about whether or not they can make that rent payment. They wonder where they’ll be next week if they can’t make that payment. That weighs heavy on my heart,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “That’s why we’re doing absolutely everything we can to work on this particular urgent crisis. I think today is proof that this work is having results. … We will continue to push as hard as we possibly can until we can get a roof over everyone’s heads at prices they can afford.”

Co-developed by Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation and the City Heights Community Development Corporation, in collaboration with the City of San Diego, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and additional organizations, the Cuatro at City Heights development will span four parcels at the 40th Street intersections of El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue.

It will consist of 115 affordable rental apartments and two managers’ units. The affordable units will include 30 units for veterans with low income experiencing homelessness, of which six units are for veterans who also have disabling conditions.

“City Heights became what it is by opening its doors to people from all over the world, and it’s become this welcoming community. And at the same time, it has become less and less easy to stay here. While I truly appreciate the transformative nature of this project, I also really appreciate what it’s going to preserve,” said San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, who represents Council District 9, where the development is located. “It’s going to become a beautiful housing development with space for families of all walks of life. But it’s also going to preserve the opportunity for folks who grow up here to stay in this community and fight for this community.”

SDHC awarded 48 rental housing vouchers to help pay rent for families earning 30 percent to 60 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income—$41,350 to $82,680 per year for a family of four —who are not experiencing homelessness.

“Families struggling economically in San Diego will have the opportunity to access a rental home they can afford in a transit- and service-rich neighborhood,” SDHC President & CEO Lisa Jones said. “We look forward to the positive impact this innovative development of much-needed larger affordable units at Cuatro at City Heights will have for these families and the City Heights community.”

SDHC also authorized the issuance of up to $47,111,000 in tax-exempt Housing Authority of the City of San Diego Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds and taxable bonds in an amount not to exceed $30,000,000 toward the development’s financing. The San Diego City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego (Housing Authority), approved the bonds. SDHC, the City of San Diego, and the Housing Authority are not financially liable for the bonds. Private sources of funds, such as revenue from the development, are used to repay the bonds.

“The most extraordinary game changer you can have in San Diego is a stable place to call home, a place where your kids can know where they’re going to live day after day to come home and do their homework,” Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation President & CEO Rebecca Louie said, adding that the development will also create a diverse community in City Heights, where residents speak more than 30 languages and more than 80 dialects.

Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation serves as the lead developer, managing the entitlement phase, financing, design, and construction, and provides ongoing asset management and oversight of resident services at the property.

Financing for the development also includes a $4 million loan from the City of San Diego through the Bridge to Home program.

The State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) provided more than $35.9 million in funding:

  • $8,443,317 loan from the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP);
  • $22,155,752 loan from the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP); and
  • $5,343,300 grant from the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program.

“Our City Heights CDC team works hard to provide affordable housing and high-quality affordable housing for families and the community. However, fair and affordable housing is only the first step,” City Heights CDC President & CEO Alexis Villanueva said, noting that the co-developer will provide no-cost resident services on-site, including financial literacy training, emergency food distribution, after-school programming and healthy living classes.

Residents of the 30 units for veterans experiencing homelessness will receive supportive services from Interfaith Community Services. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will also provide in-kind services for veteran residents, including on-site case management and service coordination; benefits counseling; mental, primary and preventative health care; substance use treatment services; educational services; employment services; life skills training; peer support and advocacy; resources for legal services; social and recreational services; financial counseling; and transportation assistance.

The development is in a transit-oriented development area, within walking distance to bus lines and with grocery stores and schools nearby.

The development also includes commercial space that will become home to community-based organizations, including City Heights CDC, United Women of East Africa and the Salaam Youth and Community Center.

“Together, we have embarked on a journey fueled by unwavering belief and our efforts to create this spiritual space, and today we celebrate the fruits of our collective labor. As we break ground and lay the foundation for the future, we are filled with excitement for the boundless possibilities that lie ahead,” said Mohamed Musse on behalf of the Salaam Youth & Community Center. “We are confident to make a profound and lasting impact for generations to come.”

The commercial cold shell development costs will be covered by the Commercial Tenant Contribution of approximately $4.9 million. The tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds will not be used to finance the commercial portion of the development. Any tenant improvements expected to be made to the commercial portion will be the responsibility of the tenants. Tenant improvements will be completed at a later date.

The construction is anticipated to be completed by winter 2025.

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Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall

Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission


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