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Senior Housing Reopens In Downtown After Renovation

Reported by Steve Walsh / Kpbs

San Diego officials on Monday celebrated the grand reopening of a downtown high-rise that will provide 154 units of affordable housing for seniors.

San Diego Square was renovated for the first time since it opened in 1979, according to Richard Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversaw the project.

He called it a "top to bottom overhaul" of the 12-story structure on Ninth Avenue, between Broadway and C Street.

"This is a property I can see out of my office window about two blocks from here, and I used to describe this property as having been appropriate if it had been built in the Soviet Union before the wall came down," Gentry said. "It does not look like that now."

Workers removed ivy that covered the exterior, replaced the roof, added floor-to-ceiling windows, installed energy-efficient appliances and built a computer lab for residents. The project also included upgrades to the electrical and plumbing systems, elevators improvements, and new pavement for the parking lot.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer called the completed project a location that's "terrific and affordable" for seniors.

"As we all know, for all too many seniors it's getting harder and harder to find an affordable place to live," Faulconer said.

San Diego Square will house residents aged 62 and older, who earn 60 percent or less of the San Diego area median income, or $40,800 a year for a two-person household, according to the Housing Commission.

The Housing Commission bought the building in 2014 along with its nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners, and the San Diego chapter of Local Initiatives Support Corp. It will be kept as an affordable housing development for 65 years.

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