El Cajon approves 116 downtown condominiums

El Cajon City Council has approved a 116-unit project along El Cajon Boulevard on South Johnson Avenue.

The project will fill a niche that is sometimes called the “missing link,” according to Karen Alves, vice president of development for builder City Ventures Homebuilding LLC.

Missing mid-level dwellings such as duplexes and courtyard apartments that encourage pedestrianized neighborhoods were once popular, but are now less common.

The residential community will consist of 15 townhouses, each containing between six and 11 units. All will be three bedroom / three bathroom homes with two-car garages, and there will be 22 visitor spaces throughout the project.

The developer was to have the property at 300 El Cajon Blvd. approved by city council as it will be built in a designated commercial area. It was once the site of Mossy Volkswagen of El Cajon.

The area has specific requirements and the developer has requested more housing than the general city plan allows.

The project site is in the specific plan of the city’s transit district, where zoning would typically allow 102 housing units. But if a developer agrees to provide public benefits such as green building practices or special amenities, the city considers the density bonuses and, in this case, has authorized an additional 14 units.

The developer has incorporated public improvements to include street trees along El Cajon Boulevard and Johnson Avenue and on-site amenities including a swimming pool, orchard and green space. A report from the city said the development will also use green building practices to minimize energy and water consumption.

The housing will be adjacent to two capital improvement projects coming into their final planning phase in the city – a roundabout on Johnson and El Cajon Boulevard and improvements along West Main Street.

City planner Melissa Devine told city council last week that the pedestrian complex “has the potential to be a catalytic project for this revitalization area.”

Daryl Priest, a resident and developer who has built hundreds of projects in the city since the 1980s, including one of the first in downtown El Cajon, said he had no financial interest in the project and had only met City Ventures staff at Tuesday’s meeting. , but praised the upcoming complex.

“This is what El Cajon needs, and we’ve been trying to do it for 20 years,” Priest said. “This is a big project. It’s good for the city and it’s what we need. If you don’t grow up you will die and we have to find a way to grow up and give young couples the opportunity to. come here and live in El Cajon I’m 100 percent for it and wish them the best of luck.

Alves told city council the company is focused on infill projects and recently sold all of its homes in Ariana, near the Mission Trails Regional Park in Santee. Alves said City Ventures has a 60-unit complex called Parkridge that will soon be available in La Mesa.

She said the upcoming housing in El Cajon “is something City Ventures is great at.”

“That’s really what we’re doing, is bringing what has been touted as the ‘missing link’ to the market, and it’s an attached product. There are certainly different stages to homeownership and it’s a stage that is missing in many markets.

“Especially in today’s world where housing is needed, this offers an opportunity for young couples, for beginner families, for young professionals within your communities … it’s the right size for this type of property. . “

City Councilor Gary Kendrick has asked City Ventures to “come back and build 10 more.”

City Councilor Steve Goble thanked City Ventures for believing and investing in El Cajon.

“It’s a big project,” Goble said. “It’s a necessary project. It’s a perfect part of town to help revitalize this area, to take some of that unused area and hopefully revitalize it into a nice hub of transit-oriented development, which is a bit what we wanted.