North Park tear-downs push infill

Developers cranking out pricey apartments

Goodbye to the STD testing clinic at 2141 El Cajon Blvd.
  • Goodbye to the STD testing clinic at 2141 El Cajon Blvd.

Developers can’t seem to acquire building sites in North Park fast enough. Vacant lots are rare, so old structures have to come tumbling down.

Snappy Auto Service

Snappy Auto Service

The latest case in point: The Progressive Health Services building, a former testing facility for STDs on El Cajon Boulevard, went up for sale a while back. Listing realtor Lee & Associates of Carlsbad just confirmed the property (asking price $2.5 million) will close escrow on November 30. It is zoned for residential development (apartments or condos).

2420 University – much interest but no offers yet.

2420 University – much interest but no offers yet.

The 10,674-square-foot site, at the southwest corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Mississippi Street, is across from the Lafayette Hotel. West of the property is the recently completed Evelyn apartment town-homes.

Plans for the property (from the broker’s brochure) are: “Forty attached multi-family units using density bonus with 7000-square-feet of ground floor commercial. Contemplates a mix of 4 studios, 18 1-bedroom and 18 2-bedroom units averaging 769-square-feet. Parking would be a mix of 19 garage stalls and 14 garage lifts, for 33 total spaces.”

2311 El Cajon Blvd.

2311 El Cajon Blvd.

There are four parcels included in the sale, including Snappy Auto Service located south of the yellow building. The proprietor of Snappy, who does not own the property, declined to offer any comments on the record.

While one wonders why North Park rentals have increased so much at new complexes, it’s affected by cost of land and construction, development fees, along with fast-rising market rates. The estimated development fees for this 40-unit project with ground commercial total $761,106. A huge chuck of that amount is $271,320 in development impact fees (transportation, park, library and fire).

2141 El Cajon Blvd. from above

2141 El Cajon Blvd. from above

President Tootie Thomas with The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association said in a statement: “This house-turned-medical office that once served women and the community will now become a beautiful example of the robust development on The Boulevard that will help address our city's housing crisis. It will also deliver an expanded customer base to our members, which will in turn create more jobs.”

Meanwhile, another North Park property for sale, at 2420 University Avenue (just off Texas Street), is zoned for partial-residential development. It’s next to a 7-Eleven, and was formerly the locale for Answer, Inc. This property is much smaller, only 3957-square-feet. The asking price is $975,000.

The zoning is CN-1-5, which allows one dwelling unit for each 600-square-feet of lot area. That would allow six residential units, and possibly more according to Realtor Mike Habib with Coldwell Banker Commercial. Habib said there may be transportation credits. Directly across it on University Avenue is an MTS bus stop (routes 7 and 10).

Habib added: “Interested developers have indicated that commercial would remain on the University Avenue side of the property, with residential on the north side of the property.” There has been “much interest, but no offers yet,” he said.

Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street said, “More mixed-use would be great for North Park, especially with this property’s location along the busy transit corridor of University Avenue.”

Another rundown building, at 2311 El Cajon Boulevard (next to McDonald’s), is likely to end up being demolished. The ECBBIA’s community development coordinator Steve Aldana said he believes the property “has already sold.” It formerly housed various businesses, most recently Bark Boulevard (which moved to the northwest corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Mississippi Street). Just east of that dog daycare business is another new (and pricey) apartment building, Exotic Gardens.

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North Park and many other neighborhoods throughout San Diego (City/County) have been taken from quaint single family homes to infilling with apartments. This destroys the fabric of the community, increases traffic, eliminates parking and decreases stability. When you increase renters and decrease homeowners there is an increase in crime. Developers and the corrupt local governments have destroyed many neighborhoods. Money talks and the rest of us get nothing.

I certainly don't claim to know the outcome of the apartment-building along El Cajon Blvd and on University Avenue. Time will tell. The concept as I've heard it is to make those areas more pedestrian-oriented and increase public transit. As for ECB, that section has not been a homeowner stretch, but rather the remnants of a former east-west highway. So with the new apartment buildings/eateries, I'm thinking crime may decrease there.

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