Industry News

09 Aug Construction Underway on Downtown Supportive Housing Community

Project delivers on San Diego Mayor’s Housing First policy goals.

Last summer, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Falcouner and the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) announced an ambitious plan to create supportive housing opportunities for over 3,000 homeless individuals and families over the next three fiscal years.

Rooted in the national “housing first” model to address homelessness, Mayor Faulconer’s plan expedites housing for homeless individuals, coupled with supportive services as needed. A report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development highlights the effectiveness of the approach and details how the housing first model results in long-term housing stability, improved physical and behavioral health, improved incomes and reduced use of crisis services such as emergency departments, hospitals and jails.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness defines the housing first model as, “a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues. Additionally, Housing First is based on the theory that client choice is valuable in housing selection and supportive service participation, and that exercising that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life.”

Under the new housing plan, the city of San Diego is investing resources to build new housing developments for homeless individuals and families transitioning into permanent housing. The Beacon Apartments, a major downtown development that meets housing first principles, initiated construction in April and is scheduled to be completed in September 2019. Acquired by nonprofit affordable housing developer Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation and managed by local construction management firm KCM Group, the new supportive housing community will provide 44 homes for homeless individuals and families. The development will also replace a transitional living facility, expected to help alleviate San Diego’s growing need for longer-term supportive housing.

“We believe supportive housing is vital to building strong communities in San Diego,” said KCM Group President Gordon Kovtun. “It’s socially rewarding to work alongside Wakeland in creating sustainable housing solutions for homeless individuals and families in our community.”

“Over Wakeland’s 20-year history, it has been our mission to create housing that addresses the unique needs of the communities in which we work,” said Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation CEO Ken Sauder. “We look forward to opening the doors of The Beacon Apartments so people can benefit from supporting housing in San Diego and finally have a home of their own where they can live stable, productive lives.”

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12 Oct San Diego’s First Supportive Housing Community for Formerly Homeless Seniors Opens

Just before the summer came to an end, the doors swung open at Talmadge Gateway, San Diego’s first 100 percent supportive housing community for seniors who have been homeless and have ongoing medial needs. At the grand opening ceremony, California State Senator Toni Atkins and Assemblymember Todd Gloria joined the nonprofit affordable housing developer, Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, and City Heights Community Development Corporation to celebrate.

“Talmadge Gateway is unique in that it not only gives these formerly homeless seniors a safe place to live, but it also offers wraparound supportive services designed to help them live stable, independent lives,” said Ken Sauder, Wakeland’s President & CEO. “Completing this property demonstrates Wakeland’s ongoing commitment to provide affordable and permanent supportive homes in the San Diego region to help alleviate our current housing crisis.”

Wakeland developed the 60-unit property, which includes 59 rentals and 1 managers’ unit, with the support of KCM Group that managed the construction project for Wakeland. The project was delivered on time and on budget. The City Heights Community Development Corporation also played a major role in the development of the project. Services at Talmadge Gateway will be provided primarily by the St. Paul’s Senior Services’ Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a program that supports seniors through providing in-home care, transportation and personalized medical services.

“The Housing First comprehensive approach is critical to getting more seniors and families off the streets and into a real home,” said Gordon Kovtun of the KCM Group. “This was truly an important project for KCM and the city. We’re proud to be a part of this effort that’s providing a real solution to the City of San Diego’s homeless seniors.”

“St. Paul’s has made a commitment to address the overwhelming growth of homeless seniors in San Diego,” said Cheryl Wilson, CEO, St. Paul’s Senior Services. “We’ve provided permanent housing to almost 100 seniors who were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness. Of those, 96 percent continue to live successfully in their new homes and in fact, thrive. We attribute our success to the comprehensive medical and social support provided by the St. Paul’s PACE program. For most of those who live on the streets, their social and health challenges need to be addressed before introducing them into permanent housing, and of course that support must continue once they have moved into their new home. Talmadge Gateway has given us the opportunity to take another 59 seniors off the street.  We’re very proud to be a part of this effort,” added Wilson.

The need for permanent supportive housing developments like Talmadge Gateway is strong in San Diego County, particularly for seniors. According to the 2017 San Diego Homeless Point-in-Time count, nearly one-third of San Diego County’s 9,116 homeless residents are seniors. Permanent supportive housing gives these residents a “forever home” where they can become stabilized and access community resources with the goal of staying housed for the long term. This combination of housing and services is known as the Housing First model and has helped some communities reduce chronic street homelessness by as much as 90 percent.

The $20.7 million Talmadge Gateway project gathered support from local community members early in the development process, with neighbors embracing the project’s goal of revitalizing a site that had previously been an auto storage lot with a vibrant new community of affordable homes that serve seniors.

“Community outreach from the very onset shows how a development such as Talmadge Gateway can fit into an older urban area and can complement the surrounding neighborhood,” said Fred Lindahl, a neighbor who serves as Board Chair of City Heights Community Development Corporation and formerly led the Kensington Talmadge Planning Group.

The development designed by Studio E Architects and built by Allgire General Contractors, features three stories of beautiful and functional homes above a ground floor with parking, community rooms and a multipurpose supportive care office. A second-floor terrace offers additional space for socializing, and special architectural details – like wide stairwells with porthole windows and cheerful paint colors – encourage active living. A unique feature of Talmadge Gateway is that the development also includes a new, 500-square foot storefront for commercial use and a 1940’s-era commercial building along El Cajon Boulevard that was renovated during construction.

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12 Oct San Diego Women in Construction Team Up and Join Habitat for Humanity to Build New Homes in Logan Heights

Women across the region in the construction industry from the Urban Land Institute to C&S Companies and KCM Group, participated in the San Diego Habitat for Humanity’s (SDHFH) Women Build Program. The SDHFH Women Build program promotes the involvement of women in the construction industry and works to recruit, nurture and train women to build and repair affordable homes in local neighborhoods.

According to Shandy Arwood, Director of Community Engagement at SDHFH, almost 200 women have participated and raised $150,000 to advance the SDHFH’s mission to build homes, communities and hope in San Diego County. During the Women Build event, a team of 8 women that included women from Andrew Lauren Interiors, C&S Companies, Urban Land Institute, Cornerstone Communities, KCM Group, Performance Drywall and BDS Construction raised nearly $18,000 and was recognized as the top friends and family team. The top corporate team was a group of 19 women from Balfour Beatty Construction that raised $19,636.

The event served as a benefit for four of 11 of SDHFH’s affordable home projects in Logan Heights as a part of National Women Build Week, which is sponsored nationally by Lowe’s. Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing and spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by many in communities across the country. This year, more than 17,000 women from across the country, volunteered at construction sites as part of Habitat’s 2017 National Women Build Week.

Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat’s National Women Build Week, which included more than 300 Habitat locations hosting National Women Build Week activities this year. The local San Diego event was also sponsored by some of the region’s biggest companies including Cox Communications, Northrop Grumman, Whiting-Turner, the Original Pink Box, Star 94.1, San Diego Catering Company, Loews Coronado, Starwood Hotels, Island Prime, Stone Brewery, H&E Equipment, EDCO and more.

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12 Oct Court Upholds Plaza de Panama Project, Issues Sweeping Rejection of All SOHO Claims

After years of litigation and delay, the City of San Diego Plaza de Panama Project is steps closer to a reality.  Earlier this summer, Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Pollack found “no basis” for the Save Our Heritage Organization’s (SOHO) claim that the project, which had been delayed by a prior unsuccessful SOHO lawsuit, now required a Supplemental Environment Impact Report as a result of that delay.

“After eight years of this arduous process, we truly believe that we’ve secured the comprehensive solution that San Diego residents, park visitors and stakeholders have been waiting for,” said Gordon Kovtun, Principal at KCM Group, which manages the construction of the project. “We’re ready to get to work to reclaim 6.3 acres of park land, add much-needed parking and free the plazas from chronic vehicular traffic to allow more San Diego families and children to enjoy our city’s crown jewel.”

Pollack ruled that the improvements designed to increase pedestrian access within Balboa Park were properly approved by the San Diego City Council. The improvements, collectively known as the Plaza de Panama Project, were approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission and approved twice by the City Council (each time with one opposing vote).

SOHO had endorsed a rival proposal, the so-called “Lewis Plan,” which would have built an extensive network of new roadways on the park’s hillsides and canyons and a underground garage below the Plaza de Panama, with three tunnel mouths to allow cars to enter the garage from the park’s core.

“Once again, a court has found that the City correctly followed environmental law in seeking to improve one of the City’s greatest treasures,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “SOHO’s lawsuits have served no purpose other than to delay a widely supported project, and to drive up costs for the taxpayers.”

The City is being represented by Deputy City Attorney Jana Michova Will, working in conjunction with the Plaza de Panama Committee and its attorney, Scott Williams of Selzer Caplan McMahon Vitek.

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12 Oct Wakeland to Build Beacon Apartments as a Solution for Homeless in East Village

Early next Summer, nonprofit affordable housing developer Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation and KCM Group, a local firm that manages construction projects, will break ground on an East Village development that will provide 44 supportive homes for people who have been homeless. The new permanent housing community, the Beacon Apartments, will replace a transitional living facility and is expected to promote safe, cleaner streets and help alleviate the City of San Diego’s growing need for permanent supportive housing.

“From the start, Wakeland’s mission has been to create housing that serves the community’s needs,” said Wakeland’s President and CEO, Ken Sauder. “We are committed to helping the City of San Diego work toward its goal of ending homelessness downtown by creating more permanent, affordable homes for people who have been homeless – like The Beacon Apartments. And we are delighted to have a stellar construction management firm in KCM Group to help in fulfilling that vision.”

The switch from transitional housing to permanent housing backs the city’s Housing First policy goals that give residents access to community resources with the goal of staying housed for the long term. The switch also reflects the federal and state policy shift.  The C Street development will offer services tailored to meet the individual needs of residents, including case management, behavioral health support, care coordination, peer support and skill-building classes.

“We need to continue to find ways to meet the City’s need for affordable housing. San Diego is plagued by a number of housing issues and it’s important that we address these needs,” said KCM Group’s Gordon Kovtun. “KCM Group is proud to support Wakeland, which has been at the forefront of finding housing solutions for San Diego.”

Statistics indicate that the Housing First model helps communities reduce chronic street homelessness by as much as 90 percent by promoting housing stability, mental and physical health, neighborhood safety and healthy communities. The approach is also considered cost-effective as studies show providing permanent housing costs just as much as covering the revolving door costs of emergency housing and crisis care.

Designed by the award-winning architecture firm, M.W. Steele Group, the development includes generous setbacks, tree-lined courtyard and lightwells to deliver natural illumination to residents and neighbors.

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On July 9, 2012, The San Diego City Council almost unanimously approved the Plaza de Panama project. After over seven hours of testimony, the City Council members voiced both their strong support of the project, and made clear their appreciation of the efforts of the Plaza de Panama Committee and particularly Dr. Irwin Jacobs for his generous support and tireless efforts through the entitlement of the project. KCM Group is proud to be the Program Manager and our role representing the Committee through the approval process.

Channel 7 San Diego
Union Tribune
Balboa Park
Yahoo Finance

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Appellate court overturns previous ruling favoring preservationists

As one of the chief consultants on the Plaza de Panama plan, Gordon Kovtun of KCM Group is excited to announce that the Appellate court has overturned the previous ruling that upheld the Balboa Park bypass plan.  Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who voted for the plan when he was on the City Council in 2012, said it represented “a wonderful opportunity to improve San Diego’s crown jewel.”

Check out the article here:

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On Thursday, June seventh, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Plaza de Panama Project. After careful consideration of the project including almost seven hours of presentations and testimony, the Commission made their recommendation along with noting their appreciation of the project team’s thorough submittal and presentation of the design and project facts. They further voiced their gratitude to Dr. Irwin Jacobs for his steadfast support of the project through the processing and arduous review process for the project.

Please visit the following links for press coverage of the hearing:

NBC Article
Union Tribune Article
KPBS Article
10News Article
KUSI Article
The Daily Transcript
Yahoo Finance

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