James Silverwood — Affirmed Housing Group CEO, who oversees all company financial negotiations, property acquisitions, construction, and asset management — has more than 30 years experience in real estate development as a general contractor and developer.
Under Silverwood's direction, Affirmed Housing Group has continued to grow in the field of affordable housing.
Affirmed is teamed with homeless advocacy group Path Ventures on the conversion of the former 1928-vintage World Trade Center and Harcourt Brace building on Sixth Avenue in downtown San Diego into transitional housing.
The Affirmed/Path partnership, known as Connections Housing, will provide 150 interim housing units and 73 permanent apartments for a total of 223 individuals.
“Not only are we restoring a historic building that had become dilapidated, but we are providing a one-stop-shop for homeless,” Silverwood said. “The homeless population in downtown is quite large … It did not make sense to build elsewhere in the county, as the homeless would not be able to get there to receive the needed services. Our goal is to move persons who are currently sleeping in business doorways into a safe building, gaining the first step towards independence.”
Silverwood said the facility’s doors will open in January, with a grand opening in March.
Affirmed Housing is also currently developing Solterra in downtown El Cajon, that will have 49 housing units, commercial and retail space.
The complex will be divided into two buildings, with 46 one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom units.
Other community amenities will include a computer lounge, gated and covered parking, a community room, on-site management, and a daily shuttle or flex car.
Prior to developing affordable housing, Silverwood's for-profit company developed hundreds of single-family homes and apartments throughout Southern California.
“We are a for-profit company that just so happens to develop affordable housing. As with most real estate development, the real estate and experience of the development team is critical to its success. This is especially true for the size and scale of our developments, which typically range from $10 million to as large as $100 million dollars,” Silverwood said.
“While the financial returns in the affordable housing sector are restricted through the state and/or local jurisdictions, the industry has been good to our firm over the past 20 years and we now have a productive portfolio of rental properties,” Silverwood added.
Silverwood has been active in regional and statewide legislative issues. He has served on numerous boards and committees, such as the board of directors of the San Diego North County Building Industry from 1989 to 1992, and the state Housing Finance Advisory Committee from 1997 to 1998. A past board member of the San Diego Housing Federation, he currently sits on the board of governors of the California Housing Consortium. Silverwood was recently inducted into the California Housing Hall of Fame.
Silverwood said he continues to look for new opportunities here and elsewhere.
“There is rarely a dull moment, and it seems that in recent years our firm has tackled some of the most ambitious and complicated developments one could imagine, yet we have come out on top every time,” he said.