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Paseo Santa Fe in Vista

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The Vista City Council voted on Feb. 12 to approve a disposition and development agreement to partner with Affirmed Housing Group (AHG) for a $27 million redevelopment project on a 2.6-acre site in Vista's Paseo Santa Fe district. The site is situated on the west side of South Santa Fe Avenue, between Main Street to the north and Oceanview Drive to the south.

According to Chris Earl, project manager for AHG, funding for the project will consist of $6.75 million in contributions by the city of Vista ($3.25 in planning commission housing funds and about $3.5 million of city-owned land), a commercial loan of $2.7 million and $17.6 million in federal tax credits, for which the developer has applied, Earl said.

“We have to wait until the tax credit awards take place in early summer. So, probably about early August, we'll be sourcing equity partners and lenders,” Earl said. If all goes well, groundbreaking would take place in January 2014, and the project completed in about 15 months.

Plans for the 4-story mixed-use project call for 69 units of affordable housing on three floors, with an additional 3,500 square feet of commercial space and a linear park of approximately one acre. The partners would split revenue derived from leases, according to Earl.

“The park's a big piece of it,” Earl said, who added that aspects of the park will memorialize some former North County residents who fell in battle during the Vietnam War. Earl said those aspects will be contributed to and reviewed by the city of Vista’s Public Art Commission for the

“There are three studio units, 21 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom and 21 three-bedroom units that are going to be made available to people who meet either low or very low-income affordability levels,” said Adam Finestone, associate planner for the city of Vista.

“The way that the site lays out, it's going to anchor that proposed revitalization area for South Santa Fe that's been on the books in the city of Vista for quite a time,” said Earl.

“(The 3-floor residential component) picks up on the Spanish Mission architecture. We've got balconies coming off of the units, with an entry tower and exposed wood and vines and outdoor active spaces for the residents, as well as adjacent to the retail space,” said the project's architect, Kevin Nivinskus of Studio E Architects. “This is to begin a lot of the new development attitude that they have (in Vista), to gentrify the whole downtown area.”

Among other proposed amenities, according to Earl, are a library and computer center, offices, a multipurpose community room, bicycle storage and barbecue area, and a play area for children.

“We've also got an additional room, which we'll probably identify either for social services or after-school programs, or a workout room/exercise facility,” Earl said. “There's no question that everybody's excited about (the project) here at Affirmed Housing and the city (of Vista).”


-Lovitt is a La Jolla-based freelance writer.

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