This just hit the market and will be a good one to watch.
It’s the least-expensive house for sale west of I-5 in Solana Beach, and it’s in a quiet little stretch only a block from the beach access and walking distance to everything in downtown SB! Asking $2,395,000 – thanks to the Compass listing agent Wendy!
When developer Ginger Hitzke first proposed an affordable housing complex on a parking lot in Solana Beach, she envisioned building 18 new homes for low-income families and adults at a cost of $414,000 per apartment.
More than a decade later, her project has shrunk in size by nearly half and become more than twice as expensive.
At $1.1 million per apartment, the Pearl is the priciest affordable housing project in the state and, likely, the country. It also serves as an alarming example of how political, economic and bureaucratic forces have converged to drive up the cost of such housing at a time when growing numbers of Californians need it.
“I have sticker shock,” Hitzke said. “It’s insane.”
Miguel Zamora’s saga, which is also the Pearl’s, began 30 years ago in a rundown, 1920s motel in Solana Beach, where he lived with his wife and four children. Hot water came and went, the roof leaked and toilets overflowed. Cockroaches, fleas and rats infested the rooms.
“It was all dirt. It wasn’t even paved. And it was quite ugly,” said Zamora, who worked in construction and as a dishwasher and gardener. “When it rained, it was really very cold. Everything would get damp.”
In 1992, the city of Solana Beach filed a criminal complaint against the motel’s Beverly Hills-based owner. As part of the settlement, the city demolished the motel, but agreed to provide Zamora’s family and more than half a dozen other residents new affordable housing by 1999.
Zamora and the others also received federal housing assistance vouchers, which helped him find an apartment five miles away from the old motel. His family has been living there for the last two decades, but the apartment they never received still weighs on his mind.
Should the Pearl or other low-income housing ever get built in the city, Zamora has the right to move in first. He longs to bring his family together in a place that feels more like home.
“I’d like to enjoy my grandchildren,” said Zamora, 67. “Because being apart is hard.”
Even though the deadline to provide the affordable housing was 1999, it took almost another 10 years for Solana Beach’s leaders to take the first step of asking developers to pitch projects.