The Atmosphere development at 4th Avenue and Beech Street. Photo by Chris Jennewein

A 205-unit affordable housing development in downtown San Diego officially opened on Wednesday, with units for both low-income families and homeless individuals.

Wakeland Housing and Development‘s $79 million, 12-story Atmosphere project at 4th Avenue and Beech Street features a ground-floor community room, rooftop terrace, kids play area and 24-hour security.

Units rent for $525 to $1,250 per month for income-qualified individuals, and there are 51 studios set aside for recently homeless individuals. It opened fully leased, with 700 people on the waiting list.

Ken Sauder

“The reason we’re doing this is because there’s such tremendous need,” said Ken Sauder, president and CEO of the nonprofit development company. “There’s also a real homeless problem we have in San Diego.”

The project was supported by Civic San Diego, the city Housing Commission and San Diego County, and ultimately was built with eight sources of financing.

“Atmosphere is an outstanding example of the type of partnership development that is needed to address San Diego’s shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and homeless San Diegans,” said Housing Commission Chairman Frank Urtasun.

Sauder, whose company has developed 4,000 units of affordable housing since 1999, said lack of housing is a major problem throughout California, but his nonprofit is making progress “one person at a time.”

Atmosphere is Wakeland’s largest project to date. Next to open in San Diego will be Talmadge Gardens with 60 units for seniors.

Zayda Sarinana or FPI Management in one of the studios for homeless individuals.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.