Father Joe’s begins construction on 400 affordable units
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The new project will be 14 stories and open in about two years
SAN DIEGO —
One of the most ambitious projects in Father Joe’s Villages’ history kicked off Tuesday as the nonprofit prepared to begin construction of a residential project that will include about 400 units for people facing homelessness.
When it opens in about two years, the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa project at 14th and Commercial streets in San Diego will double the amount of units Father Joe’s Village now offers in five other buildings it owns, said Deacon Jim Vargas, CEO of the nonprofit.
Funding for the $145 million project came from a variety of sources, including a $10 million donation from philanthropist Terrence Caster, founder of the Caster Group.
“A donation of this size sends a powerful message to the San Diego community,” Vargas said. “it’s a message of encouragement and of hope, a message that the streets are not a home and we don’t have to accept homelessness in our city.”
While large donations often result in buildings being named after a philanthropist, Caster said he wanted the new building to be named after Saint Teresa, more commonly known as Mother Teresa, because he and his late wife had worked with the nun on local projects.
Terence and Barbara Caster began their philanthropic work in San Diego and Tijuana in 1963, and they founded Serving Hands International to help poor people in 1983. Their nonprofit began working with Mother Teresa in 1988 by supporting her Mexico ministry and later building an orphanage and shelter for homeless people in Tijuana. Barbara Caster died in August 2018.
“There’s lots of memories here, going back a long ways,” Caster said at the ceremony, remembering times he joined his wife and sister in serving meals at Father Joe’s Villages 25 years ago.
Other speakers included San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Councilman Chris Ward and county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
“There’s two ways we can look at the challenge of those who are unsheltered,” Fletcher said. “We can have a fear-based culture, where we fear it, or we can be inspired by the hope that is possible with a little bit of help and support.”
Faulconer recalled that the site of the project once was used for one of the city’s large tented bridge shelters. People in the shelter were relocated to Golden Hall to make way for the construction.
“This is a very special location,” Faulconer said. “I remember when we stood here and said, ‘We’re going to change lives on this property.’’
Faulconer said the new project will have a large effect on the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness and will be an important model.
“This is going to be a beacon of hope for so many individuals,” he said. “This is going to be a game-changer on the streets of downtown and the entire city.”
Ward said Father Joe’s Villages and Chelsea investment Corporation, which worked together in developing the project, also are working together on building out the 14th Street greenway that will connect East Village with Barrio Logan.
“Father Joe’s and Chelsea are not just building housing,” he said. “They’re building communities.”
San Diego Housing Commission Board Chairwoman Stefanie Benvenuto said 270 of the 407 units will be permanent housing for homeless San Diegans, and the remainder will be affordable housing units for qualified residents.
Benvenuto said SDHC provided $11.5 million in loans for the project, issued $123 million in revenue bonds and attached 207 federal housing vouchers to the building.
Vargas estimated affordable housing units will rent for $600 to $1,200. The building will be the tallest of all residential buildings owned by the nonprofits.
Its other downtown residential buildings are the 90-unit Villa Harvey Mandel, the 52-unit Village Place, the 136-unit 16th and Market streets building known as SAM and the107-unit Commercial and 15th streets building known as C15. Father Joe’s also operates the 24-unit Boulevard Apartments in North Park,
Citi Community Capital Vice President Hoa Li said his organization provided $116 million in construction loan financing and $12.5 million in permanent mortgage financing for the project, which is being built by Level 10 Construction.
Other funders and partners on the project are Raymond James Financial, Century Housing, US Bank, Union Bank and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Rev. Bishop John Dolan, auxiliary bishop of San Diego and a Father Joe’s Village board member, blessed the site and said a prayer during the ceremony.
Link to Original Article (may require registration) https://bit.ly/2SpJZVn