Development progresses on mixed-use condominiums after an agreement was reached with Uptown Planners over height issues
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
After months of planning and negotiating, St. Paul’s Cathedral is moving forward with a proposed project to build two high-rise, mixed-use condominium towers in Bankers Hill. The towers will be located on two parcels of land located off Olive and Nutmeg streets, adjacent to the Cathedral, located at 2728 Sixth Ave.
In September 2011, the Uptown Planners rejected the project due to concerns over the height of the towers. Local residents worried the proposed towers, which would have stood at 178 feet and 153 feet, would negatively affect air traffic patterns over the area and take away from the neighborhood’s character.
St. Paul’s was able to reach a compromise with the Uptown Planners and the San Diego Planning Commissioners by reducing the size of the taller tower to 158 feet.
Springline Associates owner Tom Delaney, who is managing the project, said, “We got some resistance about the height of the Olive [Street] tower, and we reached a compromise with the neighborhood groups by lowering the planned size of the building. We achieved consensus with the community and received unanimous approval from both the Planning Commission and the City Council.”
As part of the agreement, St. Paul’s withdrew plans to include 11 on-site affordable housing units and will instead pay a $1.5 million fee to the San Diego Housing Authority.
The plan for the Olive Street parcel includes a 15-story building with 65 condominiums, retail space and 1,500 square feet of office space for the Cathedral’s administrative offices.
The southern site off Nutmeg Street will be 13 stories tall, with 45 condominiums, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 5,000 square feet of office space.
The next step in the project is to find a development partner to purchase the land from St. Paul’s. The land had been originally sold to a developer in 2005, but that developer defaulted on their contract. St. Paul’s decided to move forward with the project since the land-use approval process had already begun.
Once a new developer is found, they will pay St. Paul’s for the land and provide office and program space for the church. The developers will keep all profits from selling the luxury condos. The money paid to St. Paul’s for the purchase of the land will go primarily toward Cathedral programs oriented on helping the community.
“Most importantly, this project is going to allow the Cathedral to expand their ministry,” Delaney said. “That’s what the whole project is about. The Cathedral is trying to generate some revenue so that it can do all the good things that it does in the surrounding neighborhood.”
The existing Cathedral will also be renovated as part of the project, including two new bell towers. Representatives from the church said they hope to break ground on the project in the next year and expects construction to take about two years.
“We think the project [is] going to have a very beneficial impact on the local community,” Delaney said. “These will be very attractive and sustainable buildings that will increase the housing stock in an area of town that is well-suited for additional development, and the additional retail space… will enliven the streets and boost the local economy.”