1Mission opens to mixed-use praise
By Carl H. Larsen
Developers of 1Mission, a five-story project in the heart of Mission Hills, have completed the award-winning mixed-use development that was once subject to a lengthy community debate, just in time for what they hope is a turnaround in the weak real estate market.
“We’re mainly competing with downtown San Diego and the resale market,” said Luke Daniels, development manager for CLB Partners, which built the project. CLB also constructed the Park Laurel condominium towers facing Balboa Park on Sixth Avenue.
Occupying nearly a full block bounded by Washington, Goldfinch and Falcon streets and Fort Stockton Drive, 1Mission contains 13 two-story town homes with direct street entry, 48 single-story flats, 5,000 square feet of new retail space on Goldfinch Street, and 20,000 square feet of rehabilitated retailing on Washington Street. Tenants include a branch of U.S. Bank (formerly San Diego National Bank) and Olivetto Café and Wine Bar.
Home prices range from $399,000 to $1.2 million. Daniels said nine of the 61 units are under contract.
Already, 1Mission has won numerous awards for its first phase, which restored 1920s era commercial buildings facing Washington Street. It has received the 2009 Architectural Restoration award from the City of San Diego, as well as awards from the San Diego Architectural Foundation, SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) and the Urban Land Institute.
The project, called Paseo de Mission Hills when first proposed, met an outcry of community resistance because of the proposed height for some of the structure that faced a key block of Washington Street. The developer, CLB Partners, working with community leaders, ultimately amended the plan after encountering months of delays in construction.
What has emerged is a prize-winning example of blending retailing with residential use. Working on the project were architectural firms M.W. Steele Group and Heritage Architecture and Planning, Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects and Turner Construction Co.
One of its most distinctive design elements is a public courtyard that ties the residential units together with the commercial structures on the south side of the project. The courtyard contains space for Olivetto’s to provide outdoor dining. There is public parking in the underground garage (each homeowner gets two spaces). Plantings emphasize drought tolerant species and, in the courtyard, include shade-rendering trees to mitigate direct sun. Residents have an outdoor barbecue and party area.
“I think it came out beautifully – I was on the Mission Hills heritage committee that gave feedback about modifying the design itself and to assure that parking would be underground,” said Mission Hills resident Jacque Lynn Foltyn.
“What has turned out is an extremely positive addition to Mission Hills,” said Mark Fehlman, president of the Mission Hills Town Council. “Since they started, the developers have been a really good partner in the community, helping, for example, to develop Mission Nights in the warmer months to bring people to the community’s business core.”
“1Mission is a tribute to our development team and our design partner, Mission Hills’ resident Robert Lawrence,” Daniels said. Lawrence is a former partner with CLB in the venture. “1Mission owes its soul to Robert’s love of Mission Hills,” he added. The rehabilitated commercial buildings carry site numbers 867 and 868 in the city’s historical register.
The homes feature more than 30 different floor plans ranging from 1,057 to 2,671 square feet with ceilings ranging from 10 feet to 19 feet high. Units range from one to three bedrooms and one to three baths. Ground-level designs include outdoor patio areas and upper levels have outdoor balconies. The kitchens are finished with Dacor refrigerators, ovens and cook tops and Bosch dishwashers, with countertops of Cesarstone quartz.
Top-floor units enjoy views that include downtown, Point Loma and the ocean.
Two models have been designed, one by Suzi Gregg and Jill Fredrick of Dulce Design of Del Mar, and the other by Margo Porras and Michael Caeg of MiMa Design Studio of Mission Hills.
Daniels said the developer is working with several lenders, and that in today’s market, “Each story on financing is different.”
The project involved 68 firms and as many as 117 workers on the job at any given time. The concrete and rebar structure used nearly 1 million tons of rebar and 38,000 square feet of decorative, exterior brick. Sprinklers are in place throughout for fire protection.