Affordable Housing Development to Arrive in San Diego

Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. has responded to San Diego's great demand for affordable housing.
Waheed Karim

Waheed Karim, U.S. Bank

Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. is developing the Atmosphere, a $79.3 million affordable and supportive housing development in downtown San Diego.

U.S. Bank provided financing for the project.

The Atmosphere will consist of 205 units in a 12-story apartment complex, and include 51 supportive housing units for individuals with special needs, including formerly homeless. It will also include an on-site learning center where residents can access workforce development training and financial literacy workshops.

“There’s tremendous demand for affordable housing in San Diego,” Waheed Karim, U.S. Bank’s vice president in San Diego for its affordable-housing lending division, told Commercial Property Executive. “Rents are extremely high downtown. With Atmosphere’s rents at a 46-76 percent discount to market, it’s affordable for working families and low-income individuals in the city. Beyond that, Wakeland did a beautiful job with design. Atmosphere doesn’t look any different than a typical market-rate development downtown.”



Additionally, the project will include ground-floor space for a small retail store or café that has yet to be leased. The project is being built on a site that has been vacant for more than a decade despite previous developers’ attempts at redevelopment.

Residents will live in a vibrant neighborhood and have the opportunity to take advantage of numerous amenities. It’s close to businesses, public transportation, parks, schools and museums, as well as the ocean.

According to Karim, U.S. Bank has groups that specialize in and exclusively fund affordable housing projects across the country, and it’s one of the most active banks in the sector in Southern California.

“In downtown San Diego alone, we’ve committed approximately $400 million in loans and equity investments in affordable housing projects since 2008,” he said. “The cool, unique part about Atmosphere is 51 units are set aside and supportive services for homeless or those at risk. This project provides high-quality housing and helps reverse homelessness in San Diego.”

U.S. Bank and Wakeland closed on $52 million in construction lending, some of which will be replaced during development with a $44 million tax-credit equity investment through its community development subsidiary, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., to complete a financing package that also includes funding from the San Diego Housing Commission, Civic San Diego, Mental Health Services Act program of the California Housing Finance Agency.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2017.