As noted in SD URBAN, “The San Diego Housing Federation held its 2018 Ruby Awards in Balboa Park Thursday, recognizing leadership, innovation, and impact in the affordable housing and community development industries.”

Project Design Consultants (PDC) was fortunate enough to work with Community Housing Works and their project team on the innovative North Park Seniors apartment project.  This project won both the SDG&E Environmental Award and Innovations Award.

“SDG&E Environmental Award and Innovations Award – North Park Seniors

Innovative and imaginative, North Park Seniors is a groundbreaking project, consisting of 194 units (including 76 affordable apartments). It was designed and entitled as a sustainable, transit-oriented, mixed-income development. The developer Community HousingWorks partnered with the LGBT Center of San Diego to provide homes that are open to all, with an affirming and supportive environment for LGBT seniors. It is one of only a handful of such developments in the nation. It also shelters formerly homeless seniors in eight permanent supportive housing units. The artist and architect, both North Park local businesses, collaborated on creating the “You Are Home” installation, which embraces the pedestrian landscape with color, movement, and a sundial and tower with motifs of the timeless cycle of sun and stars.”

Congratulations to CHW and the entire project team on delivering this much-needed project to the San Diego region.

Project Design Consultants Celebrates the Grand Opening of CHW’s North Park Seniors!

North Park Seniors is San Diego’s first LGBT-affirming affordable senior housing project – one of only a handful of these facilities across the country. Open to all, North Park Seniors provides an affirming and supportive community for LGBT seniors. The CHW portion of the project includes 76 affordable senior apartments and eight permanent supportive housing studios for formerly homeless seniors. The overall project includes 194 total units with 118 market rate units. The complex is sustainable, transit-oriented, and mixed-income – an excellent addition to the San Diego housing market.

PDC’s engineers and landscape architects provided:

  • ALTA Survey
  • Due Diligence Study
  • City Utility Easement Vacation
  • Discretionary Entitlement (lots on either side of Texas Street)
    • Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture
  • Construction Documents
    • Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture
  • Construction Support & As-built Services
    • Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture
    • Foundation Certification Survey
    • Post Construction ALTA Survey1

The North Park Senior Housing project site presented significant drainage issues that needed to be mitigated.  The intersection of Texas Street and Howard Avenue is the sump for a large drainage basin that includes a large portion of the North Park and University Heights neighborhoods north of the project site.  The existing local storm drain facilities do not have adequate capacity to handle large storm events.  There are two storm drain systems adjacent to the site whose undersized pipes extends thousands of linear feet downstream before increasing in diameter.  Upgrading the downstream storm drain system is a regional issue which was not within the scope of this single development to rectify.  Accordingly, PDC redesigned the surface elevations and crown of Texas Street to more evenly convey storm runoff to the adjacent street gutters.  Non-standard alley aprons were designed and approved by the City to keep storm runoff from flooding the adjacent alleys.  Small walls were also implemented at the northeast corner of the site in order to ensure storm runoff in Texas Street would be redirected away from the development and maintain site access for emergency response teams which is critical for this senior housing development.


PDC’s initial Landscape Architectural task was to create conceptual streetscapes and terrace designs for the North Park Seniors project. In coordination with CHW (developer), Rodriguez and Associates (architect), and Stone Paper Scissors (artist), the design incorporated three primary elements.

Public Streetscapes

The Texas Street streetscape included street trees, car “step-outs”, and foundation planting.

The Howard Avenue streetscape included a “parklet” with a double tree-lined sidewalk with adjacent bench seating, an underground storm water filtration vault, a dog station, green vine screens, and up-lighting to accent the trees.

Main Terrace Design

The main terrace featured a two-sided fireplace in an outdoor living room that connects to the outdoor dining room and bbq area via a curvilinear flagstone walk. The outdoor kitchen is supported by citrus trees and garden vegetables were provided in anticipation of the residents culinary needs. Raised planters of a seat wall height are filled with succulents, colorful shrubs, and a transitional walk way through an up-lit bosque of bamboo.  The raised planters also served as a separating buffer for the adjacent residents and provide a softening landscaped element within an urban structure.

Rose Garden Overlook

The terrace overlook provides distant sunset views of downtown and a sunny array of garden planters filled with roses.

Detailed plans were prepared for construction layout, irrigation, planting, and low voltage lighting to obtain permits for both the building and public improvements. Detailed material schedules were outlined for multiple outdoor furniture, umbrellas, lighting, irrigation, and plant material.

While plans were being reviewed by the City, a Value Engineering process was engaged in to assure that the design would be the optimum it could be for the owner and operator while meeting and exceeding the needs of the future residents.

Construction administration was provided to assure that the vision of the design would be met. Services included review and response to requests for information (RFI’s), preparation of design sketches to adapt to field conditions, and site observations to assure plan conformance.

The CHW opening gala was celebrated on the terraced courtyard and took full advantage of the outdoor living room and the dining room and ended with a view from the rose garden overlook. Congratulations to CHW and all who had an opportunity to contribute to this important project for the San Diego region!