Affordable Apartments Unveiled in San Diego’s North Park

Kalos, a new affordable apartment community in the rapidly gentrifying North Park enclave of San Diego, was recently introduced in an unveiling ceremony.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

San Diego—Kalos, a new affordable apartment community in the rapidly gentrifying North Park enclave of San Diego, was recently introduced in an unveiling ceremony. The unveiling was attended by several area elected officials, Mayor Bob Filner, and officials of its developer, Community HousingWorks (CHW).

Situated on a one-acre site within walking distance of transit lines and employment centers, Kalos replaces an underutilized lot that had been home to eight illegally subdivided buildings. It features 83 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments affordable for residents earning up to $48,360 for a family of four. The name Kalos is Greek for beautiful, noble and “all that is good.”

“The good news is that the San Diego Housing Commission’s investment requires Kalos Apartments to remain affordable for 55 years,” says Richard C. Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission. “In addition, we authorized the issuance of more than $14 million in multifamily-exempt revenue bonds to fund this important development for low-income families.”

Adds Councilmember for District 3 Todd Gloria: “Kalos is an outstanding legacy to the good work of the San Diego Redevelopment Agency. CHW has brought beautiful and responsive design to a quality infill development that is an amenity to the neighborhood.”

Designed by internationally-acclaimed architectural firm MWSteele, Kalos features two courtyards, a multi-purpose community center with kitchen, computer lab, children’s library, teen center, tot lot, bike storage and laundry room. Responding to San Diego’s desert climate, the community offers sustainable landscape, efficient irrigation systems and low-flow plumbing features that ensure Kalos uses 56 percent less water than a typical residential community.

Other green features include rooftop solar collectors, all-LED exterior lighting package, an electric car share program with electric charging station, building and paving materials selected to reflect the sun’s heat, and a high-efficiency central boiler that uses water pre-heated from rooftop solar panels.

Kalos residents will benefit from the nationally recognized after-school programs, adults classes and coaching provided by CHW. The programs are designed to help elevate families to achievement and economic independence. All residents will have access to free basic Wi-Fi provided by CHW. The company is also teaming with nearby Jefferson Elementary, Roosevelt Middle and San Diego High School, recognizing that students with stable homes and the support of after-school programs like CHW’s tend to perform better in the classroom.

Were it to be started today, Kalos could no longer be constructed, according to CHW CEO Susan M. Reynolds. “The commitment to blend local funding sources that target infill, transit-oriented projects and leverage federal dollars has been disrupted,” she says, referring to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2012 elimination of redevelopment agencies, and with them an average $1 billion a year to fund affordable housing across the state of California.

Kalos was funded with $7.2 million from the San Diego Housing Commission, $5 million from the former Redevelopment Agency, $1 million in bonds and equity from Union Bank, and substantial rebates and incentives for green and energy upgrades. Equity investment came from the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, administered by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

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