Guest opinion writer Brian Schrader of Normal Heights continues to tout the need for additional housing in San Diego. And he’d like it to be affordable. Perhaps Brian is unaware that the City of San Diego has amped up the increase in homelessness and skyrocketing rents and purchase prices by allowing affordable housing to be torn down in favor of “luxury”, high-density condos and apartments. The single room occupancy buildings in Downtown San Diego were all torn down in favor of expensive high-rises. The City continues to make the same mistake in places like North Park and University Heights.
Let’s take Azul North Park as an example. Located at 4499 Ohio Street, the 150-unit, self-proclaimed “luxury” high-density apartment building has a starting rental price of $2,200 for a studio apartment. Two-bedroom units go for as much as $3,700, roughly the same monthly price tag of a $750,000 mortgage. And you have to pay extra for a parking space at Azul North Park. And where, oh where, is the green space for all the dogs and people who will reside there? There’s going to be a similar project, one block away, on 30th Street. That mid-rise will take up much of the east side of 30th between Madison and Monroe. And then there’s The Winslow at Park and El Cajon boulevards – 379 units. And the list of similar future projects goes on and on in University Heights and North Park.
All these new and expensive mid-rise apartments are allowing existing owners of older apartment buildings to increase their rents substantially. Why not ask hundreds more for a unit and still be priced well under the newer units? That’s what’s happening to my friends who rent. And why are University Heights and North Park being saddled with all these new apartments? I don’t see this happening in South Park, La Jolla or Mission Hills. And thanks to SB9, there’s a bigger-than-ever bidding war on for single family parcels with old homes, sending prices ever upward. Imagine the profits to be made from a 4-on-1.
Who says San Diego has to accommodate everyone who wants to live here? I’m a native. I’ve watched the total destruction of one of our most valuable green spaces and flood plain, Mission Valley. It was dairy farms when I was a kid. Now it’s a paved surface of endless development with many thousands of units planned to replace the golf course.
New buildings are not cheap and not affordable, no matter how many you build. Not for the developer and certainly not for the renter/owner. San Diego, the developer’s dream, has become the long-time resident’s worst nightmare. Quiet streets turned into jammed parking lots, dog urine everywhere, mid-rise buildings looming over single family homes, failing infrastructure, and a transit system that will never work efficiently for 99% of us.