Council Committee OKs Sale of City Heights Properties for Affordable Housing

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The City Heights/Weingart Branch Library is located several blocks from two of the properties. Courtesy City of San Diego

The San Diego City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee Friday advanced the sale of unimproved City Heights properties slated to become affordable housing.

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The City Council will now consider whether to approve the sale during a future meeting.

The properties at El Cajon Boulevard and Central Avenue; University Avenue and 40th Street; as well as University and 41st Street were transferred from the state to the city in 2001. They total roughly an acre.

Wakeland Housing & Development is in negotiations with the city to purchase the parcels for $2.8 million.

The developer proposes building 66 units of affordable housing on the plots. That would make every new unit affordable, which Wakeland President and CEO Ken Sauder said is a priority for his firm.

City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez said the sales are a long time coming for the neighborhood, where the average income for a family of four is $38,000.

She said additional affordable housing would complement transit options in the area, including the recently built Mid-City Centerline Rapid Transit Station.

“There’s been a lot of activity surrounding these particular parcels, so this is more of a continuation of improving the community,” Gomez said.

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The sale is contingent upon the buyer developing low- and moderate- income housing, with no less than 25 percent of the units considered affordable for at least 55 years. Gomez included in her motion a provision that the developer make all new units affordable, as is already proposed.

If the sale goes through, city proceeds will go toward capital improvement funds for Rosecrans Street and Balboa Avenue, as is required by the conditions of the original land transfer from the state to the city when those roads were state routes 209 and 274.

Council policy dictates a city property can only be sold if at least one of the following conditions is met: the property is not currently used by a city department or does not support a municipal function; the property is vacant and has no foreseeable use by the city; the property is a non-performing or under-performing asset and greater value can be generated by its sale; or significant economic development can be generated by selling the property.

–City News Service

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