San Diego MTS and Affirmed Housing celebrate groundbreaking on transit-oriented housing development

Feb. 15, 2022
The new, five-story ShoreLINE building features 124 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units reserved for households earning 30 – 60 percent of the area median income.

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and Affirmed Housing broke ground on ShoreLINE, a new, 100-percent affordable, transit-oriented development located at the Grantville Trolley Station on Alvarado Canyon Road. 

“ShoreLINE is a great example of MTS taking a leadership role to address the region’s housing shortage, build sustainable, affordable communities and increase transit ridership,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board chair, and chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate the partnership with Affirmed Housing and look forward to seeing families thriving in this community for years to come.” 

“This kind of transit-oriented affordable housing is exactly what we need more of here in San Diego,” added San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “More housing options near transit are a win for our city, our community and our environment. When people live near convenient and reliable travel options like transit, there is less overall travel by car in the city, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and enhances quality of life for all of us.” 

The new, five-story ShoreLINE building features 124 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units reserved for households earning 30 – 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Residential units and laundry facilities are located on every level, and the ground floor includes parking, bike storage, office space for property management and community room with gathering space, a computer lab and a kitchen. Residents also have access to an expansive 5,800-square-foot courtyard, outdoor gardens and gathering spaces with built-in seating, an enclosed tot lot play area and a barbecue station. Access to the building will be monitored 24/7 and restricted to residents only. Designed to encourage pedestrian and bike activity, the new development features a lush, 26-foot-wide paseo that leads to the main entrance and several paths through and around the building connect to the trolley/bus station. 

ShoreLINE is part of a larger effort MTS is advancing to redevelop its top-tier park and ride locations into transit-oriented developments.

Other top-tier properties MTS is in the process of redeveloping or actively looking to redevelop include:  

  • Palm Avenue Trolley Station – 390 units 
  • Rancho Bernardo Transit Center – 100 estimated units 
  • 12th & Imperial Transit Center – 500 estimated units 
  • El Cajon Transit Center – 400 estimated units 
  • E Street Transit Center – 170-390 estimated units 
  • Beyer Boulevard Transit Center – 100 estimated units 

A full inventory of properties can be accessed on the MTS Real Estate webpage. 

“ShoreLINE is a shared vision to bring forward-looking solutions that address urgent urban livability challenges and deliver long term positive impacts,” said Jimmy Silverwood, executive vice president for Affirmed Housing. “Ensuring housing security is good, but it’s not enough – providing a little extra support and a welcoming environment where people are proud to live is significant for boosting the overall health and wellness of the entire community. We’re grateful to work with our partners who embrace these methods that benefit us all.” 

Affirmed Housing leveraged various types of funding and credit sources for ShoreLINE’s development, including transit-oriented development funds from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD); project-based vouchers, tax-exempt and taxable bonds issued by the San Diego Housing Commission; ground lease from MTS; and federal and state tax equity. 

Land use for the project site is regulated by the Navajo Community Plan, which was adopted in 2015 and encourages multifamily residential development to boost housing availability in the region. Although ShoreLINE’s plans follow the guidelines set forth in the plan and do not require discretionary planning approvals, Affirmed Housing still engaged the San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) in a preliminary review process to move the project forward.  

The site replaces an existing MTS parking lot, with ShoreLINE situated on the western half and a separate neighboring development, comprised of market-rate housing for students, Union Grantville, is located on the eastern side of the lot. 

In addition to delivering much-needed affordable housing to the region, ShoreLINE will offer on-site supportive services tailored to aid and empower residents to live their best lives. The supportive services plan includes after school programs for children and adult education programs that focus on health and wellness, skills and career building, computer education, human services, contract management, civic involvement and community leadership. Affirmed Housing will regularly survey residents to confirm that programs and services offered are appropriate to the needs of the resident population.