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City Heights

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego (Agency) is dissolved as of February 1, 2012, per Assembly Bill 1X 26 (AB 26). The City of San Diego, serving as the successor agency per Resolution No. R-307238 (PDF) (January 12, 2012), has assumed the former Agency's assets, rights, and obligations under the California Community Redevelopment Law, subject to some limitations, and is winding down the former Agency's affairs and taking other actions in accordance with the dissolution provisions in Part 1.85 of AB 26. For questions regarding either the enforceable/recognized obligations of the former Agency or the Oversight Board, contact the Office of the Mayor at (619) 236-6330 or successorinfo@sandiego.gov. This website remains intact for historical reference purposes.

City Heights Redevelopment Project Area

General Project Area Information

The City of San Diego's 1,984-acre City Heights Redevelopment Project Area, comprised of various community planning areas, focuses on education and beautification of the community. The centerpiece of the Project Area is the City Heights Urban Village, a public/private partnership effort that encompasses nine city blocks. Other focus areas include the Interstate 15 Corridor and the University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard commercial corridors.

A variety of excellent redevelopment opportunities are afforded in City Heights due to several established commercial districts, multi-family and single-family housing, access via four major freeways, and incentives offered for mixed-use and job inducing developments. The Project Area is bounded by Home and Euclid avenues and 54th Street to the east, Meade and Monroe avenues to the north, Home Avenue to the south, and Interstate 805 to the west.

The Redevelopment Agency has produced a video summarizing the projects and programs within the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area as of July 2010. Click on the link below to view the video:

Redevelopment Incentives

  • Site assembly
  • Permitting assistance
  • Off-site improvements
  • Housing programs
  • Façade improvements
  • Low-cost financing incentives

Development Objectives

  • Commercial and mixed-use projects
  • Affordable and market-rate housing developments and rehabilitation
  • Youth recreation and service centers
  • Transportation facilities
  • Living wage job creation
  • Increased homeowner occupancy

Demographic Information

  • Total Population – 78,983
  • Median Household Income – $26,538
  • Total Housing Units – 23,556

Project Area Documents

To report difficulty accessing these documents or to request the documents in an alternative format, contact Melissa Garcia at (619) 236-6547.

Overlapping Programs

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Project Area Committee (PAC) Information

The City Heights Redevelopment Project Area Committee (PAC) is a 20-member community group that provides advice and community input on proposed redevelopment projects and programs in the Project Area. The City Heights Redevelopment PAC meets on the second Monday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Meetings are held in the Metro Career Center Office Building Conference Room, located at 3910 University Avenue.

PAC members must be at least 18 years of age and reside or own a business or property or be designated as a candidate by a community organization located in the Project Area. Vacant seats may be filled by appointment. If you are interested in serving and meet the eligibility requirements, contact Karina Danek at (619) 236-6537 or kdanek@sandiego.gov for more information.

PAC meetings are open to the public, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the PAC must be elected in the annual PAC Election, which takes place in November. The PAC is able to temporarily fill vacant seats by majority votes at their noticed meetings. For more information about the City Heights Redevelopment PAC, PAC elections, or other issues regarding community involvement, contact Melissa Garcia, Project Manager, at (619) 236-6547 or magarcia@sandiego.gov.

Redevelopment Projects

Colina del Sol (Colina Park) Neighborhood Improvements

The neighborhood of Colina Park is bounded by El Cajon Boulevard to the north, University Avenue to the south, Euclid Avenue to the west, and 54th Street to the east. On December 2, 2011, the City Council approved the use of $2,814,000 of Redevelopment Agency bond proceeds to fund approximately 122 missing streetlights and 4,985 square feet of missing sidewalk. This action was the culmination of approximately a year and a half years of work by Redevelopment Agency staff, City Heights Redevelopment PAC members, and residents of Colina Park. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has been organizing the community of Colina Park through its Neighborhoods First initiative, which led to the Redevelopment Agency's investment in the community.

Swan Canyon Restoration Project

The Redevelopment Agency has partnered with Endangered Habitats Conservancy and Ocean Discovery Institute to restore approximately 4.87 acres of Swan Canyon. The 4.87-acre Swan Canyon restoration effort entails complex planning, a lengthy permitting process involving local and state agencies, and an extensive five-year implementation process. The implementation process incorporates removal and thorough treatment of Arundo donax and other invasive plants, revegetation of the area with native plants, trail enhancement, and careful monitoring. Restoration of the canyon will provide many benefits to local residents, including access enhancement to a local recreational area, establishment of a connected safe trail system, elimination of a fire hazard, and creation of an educational resource for adjacent schools. Environmental benefits include restoration of a natural habitat and water quality improvement in the Pueblo Watershed. The total cost of the 4.87-acre project is $259,457; the California Coastal Conservancy has contributed $124,457 to the project, and the Redevelopment Agency has contributed $135,000.

Bus Shelters and Benches

Installation of twenty new bus stop shelters and benches was completed in September 2009 throughout the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area to provide weather protection and convenience for transit riders, including residents, visitors, and merchants. The Redevelopment Agency contributed funds to the project, and the City Heights Business Association coordinated the procurement and installation. The shelters and benches enhance the area's transit-friendliness, encourage greater transit use, and improve the look and feel of the community.

Euclid Tower

The Euclid Tower is one of the most visible structures within the community of City Heights. The ornamental Tower stands 80 feet tall and sits atop a two-story commercial structure that was originally built in 1932 as a drive-in soda fountain. In 1999, the Tower section began leaning dangerously and was taken down for safety reasons. Restoration of the Tower was of particular importance to the community, which believed it would positively affect the neighborhood character. Community members recommended restoring the Tower with the colorful public art façade to represent the culturally rich and diverse community of City Heights. Stanford Sign & Awning completed the Tower restoration in March 2009 based on the design by Richard Bundy of ARCHITECTS Richard Bundy & David Thompson.

Talmadge Senior Village

Talmadge Senior Village, an attractive three-story mixed-use facility, opened in October 2006. Located in the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area, the $18.6 million Talmadge Senior Village project provides critically needed affordable housing opportunities to San Diego's senior citizens as well as commercial and community recreation uses. Talmadge Senior Village replaces an older motel at 5252 El Cajon Boulevard and offers housing at rents affordable to very low income senior citizens. The development is in close proximity to vital senior services, such as public transportation, grocery markets, park, medical centers, and pharmacies.

Auburn Park Apartments

Auburn Park Family Apartments, a $22.4 million redevelopment project, creates additional affordable housing for San Diegans and enhances the continued revitalization of City Heights. Located on the southwest corner of University Avenue and 52nd Street, the 69-unit housing development is designed for very low- and low-income families earning from 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. The development offers 6 studios, 27 one-bedroom, 14 two-bedroom, and 22 three-bedroom units for individuals and families that fall within the income guidelines. Two units serve as onsite management and maintenance staff units. The project also provides a public park and enhanced open space area in the immediately adjacent Auburn Creek. Construction was completed in late 2007.

City Heights Square

This master-planned redevelopment project located on University Avenue bounded by 43rd Street, Fairmount Avenue, and Polk Avenue, is comprised of four distinct but complementary elements. Combined, the development represents an investment of more than $75 million to further revitalize the City Heights community and bring needed resources to it. The redevelopment project is also considered a complementary phase to the award-winning City Heights Urban Village. Project elements include:

  • Senior Housing
    This project consists of 151 units of affordable, supportive housing for low- and very low-income seniors. Residents have access to onsite support servies, including access to daily meals. The Redevelopment Agency contributed a total of $9.1 million to the project. The City Heights Square Senior Housing project held its grand opening in August 2007.
  • La Maestra Community Health Centers
    This project includes a new three-story medical office building with underground parking, a community clinic, and private commercial space. Construction was completed in summer 2010.
  • Commercial/Residential
    The commercial/residential portion of City Heights Square occupies an approximately 61,922-square-foot site on University Avenue between 43rd Street and Fairmount Avenue. Price Charities constructed the mixed-use project with 92 residential apartment units, 20,500 square feet of retail space, two levels of subterranean parking, and 54 covered surface-level spaces. The estimated total project cost is approximately $38 million. Construction was completed in November 2011.
  • Pocket Park
    The Redevelopment Agency has funded land acquisition and improvements for a 5,348-square-foot pocket park (PDF) in the City Heights Square block. The design phase for the park is currently underway.

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State Route 15 Improvements

Until 1998, State Route 15 terminated in City Heights, dumping heavy traffic onto the local streets of the community. To address this issue, the State of California worked extensively with the City of San Diego, local schools, Metropolitan Transit Service, and local community organizations to design and install a depressed freeway through the Mid-City neighborhoods. This $150 million project included the construction of a 2.2-mile freeway extension between Interstate 805 and Adams Avenue, three new public parks, including the four-acre Teralta Park, which sits on a lid over the submerged freeway, as well as extensive architectural enhancements and community amenities. Four enhanced bridge decks were completed. The new enhancements included retail and restroom buildings, decorative bus shelters, trellises, landscaping, sound attenuation walls, and public art.

Metro Center and Metro Villas

The City Heights Metro Center Project transformed a once blighted property into a dynamic, mixed-use development that provides multiple benefits for the surrounding neighborhood and the entire San Diego region. The $47 million project is located at the northwest corner of University Avenue and State Route 15. The project includes both office and housing components, the Metro Career Center and Metro Villas, respectively. The attractive four-story office building and 120 new affordable family housing units feature ample structured parking and landscaped open space areas. The primary tenant in the office building is Workforce Partnership, which provides comprehensive job training and placement services for San Diego County.

Regional Transportation Center

The Regional Transportation Center (RTC) is an innovative mixed-use project designed to introduce San Diego residents to the benefits of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The RTC signature architectural design transformed a formally blighted commercial corner of the City Heights community into an impressive commercial and public service development. This $12.5 million facility includes an education center, conventional and alternative fuel vehicle display, repair center, and fueling station—combining non-profit educational and for-profit commercial components. The project also houses several other commercial and office uses in its upstairs leased space. RTC is one of the most comprehensive alternative fuel vehicle centers in California.

City Heights Urban Village

The eight-block City Heights Urban Village is an award-winning master-planned redevelopment project in which multiple public and private uses coexist in a communal village setting. Through the restoration of the City Heights commercial core and the establishment of this pedestrian-friendly town square, the multi-phased Urban Village is fundamentally changing the social and physical environment of this diverse community. Individual components within the Urban Village include: Mid-City Police Substation, Mid-City Community Gymnasium, Rosa Parks Elementary School, Weingart City Heights Library, City Heights Recreation Center, Mid-City Continuing Education Center, City Heights Retail Center, Village Townhomes and Office Center, Performing Arts Center, Head Start Center, and a community swimming pool.

Storefront Improvement Program

The Storefront Improvement Program for Redevelopment Project Areas provides forgivable loans to property owners and business tenants in the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area as an incentive to improve commercial property façades consistent with the design standards for the commercial area.

Community Enhancement Program

The Redevelopment Agency has partnered with Community HousingWorks to implement the Community Enhancement Program (PDF) through which community volunteers paint out graffiti, pull weeds, repair fences, plant trees, and haul away debris in City Heights. In addition to cleaning and beautifying public right-of-ways, the Community Enhancement Program improves homes occupied by low- and moderate-income residents.

Affordable Housing Information

Project Area Contact Information

For more information about the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area, contact the following:

Melissa Garcia
Redevelopment Project Area Manager
(619) 236-6547
magarcia@sandiego.gov

Karina Danek
Redevelopment Project Area Manager
(619) 236-6537
kdanek@sandiego.gov

The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego
1200 Third Avenue, 14th Floor, MS 56D
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-6700

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