Senior-only affordable housing proposed for Oceanside’s South Coast Highway

Project is one of two recommended for loans of city’s low-income housing funds; staffers reviewed five proposals

By Phil Diehl

May 13, 2024

Construction crews work on the completion of Father Joe’s Villages 82-unit affordable housing project called Benson Place in 2020 in San Diego. (Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A proposal to build 56 apartments for low-income seniors on South Coast Highway near Oceanside Boulevard tops a list of projects submitted for Oceanside’s affordable housing program.

The Coastal Villas is one of two projects that Oceanside’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Department is recommending for approval out of five responses to a notice of available funding that the city issued Feb. 9.

No. 2 on the list is a 111-apartment complex for low-income families and individuals to be constructed on vacant property in the 2100 block along the eastern side of South El Camino Real, near state Route 78.

The recommendations for funding are expected to go to the Oceanside City Council for a decision at its June 26 meeting.

“We need to get housing in the ground … as soon as possible,” Community and Neighborhood Services Director Leilani Hines said Thursday at a special meeting of the city’s Housing Commission.

“All five proposals were good,” she said. “If we had $20 million, we would fund them all.”

Proposals not accepted for funding are placed on the city’s wait list.

A panel of housing officials from Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, San Marcos and El Cajon reviewed and ranked the five responses. The top two were selected in part because they are the closest to shovel-ready, would stagger construction and provide diverse types of housing, Hines said.

“They stood out for a number of reasons,” she said, and the developers have a record of successful projects in the county.

Coast Villas, sponsored by National Core and the San Diego Community Housing Corporation, would be built on a site now occupied by a used car sales lot in the 1100 block of South Coast Highway. All 56 apartments would be for seniors age 62 or older.

Of those, 19 apartments would be leased to people without homes or at risk of homelessness, 12 would be for federal housing voucher recipients, and 35 would be for the category of very low-income households. One apartment would be for an on-site manager.

“We think this is going to be a catalyst for future growth,” said Ted Miayhara, executive director at San Diego Community Housing.

SDCH was a co-developer of Oceanside’s Greenbrier Village, a 60-unit apartment building for people who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless opening this summer on Greenbrier Drive, near Oceanside Boulevard and Interstate 5.

The developer has applied for a loan of $4,250,000 in city funding toward the Coast Villas project’s total estimated construction costs of $37.6 million. If approved, the loan would be for 55 years at simple 3 percent interest.

The developer also has applied for $2.5 million from the county’s No Place Like Home program. If accepted for the county funding, the complex would be required to accept low-income seniors in need of mental health services among its tenants.

The South El Camino Real project is sponsored by Mirka Investments. It would have 111 apartments for families and individuals making 30 percent to 80 percent of the area’s median income, which is $119,000 annually for a family of four. Half of the apartments would have three bedrooms to serve large, low-income families.

Mirka is requesting $6 million in city funding toward the project’s total costs of more than $76 million. A San Diego based company with fifty years of combined affordable housing experience, Mirka is expected to break ground this summer on the 43-unit South River Village affordable housing project at the northeast corner of College Boulevard and North River Road in Oceanside.

Construction could begin on the Mirka project as soon as early 2025 if all the financing falls into place, Hines said. The Coast Villas project would start next.

The city has $18.4 million in its fund for affordable housing. Most of the money, or $13.2 million, is from the in-lieu fees paid by residential developers who choose not to include affordable housing in their projects.

Staffers recommended leaving about $8 million in the housing fund to be prepared for additional projects that may turn up, such as the expected residential development of the former Reynolds Elementary School on Douglas Drive.

The funds could be difficult to replace in the future, Hines said. The City Council recently approved an ordinance to make more projects exempt from paying the fees. Also, when development slows, so does the collection of in-lieu fees, and there’s no guaranteed source of the money.

However, several of the housing commissioners suggested the city choose a third project for funding rather than keeping a large reserve.

“I can see both sides of the argument,” said Commissioner Rachel Denise White. A conservative stance may be good, she said, but the costs of materials and labor are always going up.

“Why not build more now, help more people now,” White said.

The commission agreed unanimously to recommend the City Council approve three loans. City staffers will choose the third project from the list of five proposals in the weeks before the council’s meeting.

The other proposals submitted were a $6 million loan for a $127 million project to build 172-unit Olive Park Apartments at the terminus of Olive Avenue; a $3.6 million loan to build 64 apartments at 901 Pier View Way; and a $1 million loan to rehabilitate 144 apartments at 4779 Yuma Ave.

Mirka Investments, LLC

CEO: Kursat Misirlioglu
HEADQUARTERS: Downtown San Diego
BUSINESS: Affordable housing development
CONTACT: 619-323-1447
NOTABLE: Mirka Investments has developed multiple affordable housing projects in Southern California, concentrating on communities within San Diego County.