Not that long ago, the San Diego Housing Commission scoffed at paying $20 million to rehab downtown’s Hotel Churchill.
It made no sense to pour that much money into a century-old building to create just 90 apartments for very low-income people, agency officials said.
Fast-forward three years and the agency is paying $20 million to rehab Hotel Churchill – only it’s now getting even fewer rooms out of the deal.
An old neon sign was removed from atop the hotel last month with great fanfare. The project, however, almost didn’t happen — because Housing Commission officials said it would be a bad investment of taxpayer dollars.
A rush to spend federal money changed the agency’s tune. Now, the San Diego Housing Commission is proudly touting its efforts, even as it runs over budget.
From Sow’s Ear to Silk Purse
Commission officials rejected private developer bids in 2012 to rehab the historic Hotel Churchill and provide 90 rooms for residents on the brink of homelessness.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
It would help put these numbers in context to know how much it would normally cost to build a 70-unit apartment building downtown. Or if the city swapped out land in a slightly less expensive part of downtown or a surrounding neighborhood along the trolley line, how many units could be built? It would be great to know a bit more to know what to think about these numbers.
I assume that if it is a rehab, whether there are 70 units or 94 they are all within the same building shell. So the "only 70 units" are larger units, correct? Was there any discussion in rejecting the original proposal that the units were smaller than was ideal? Did that have any role in the rejection of the original proposal?