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K Lofts
San Diego, Calif.
Jonathan Segal Architect

Using a series of unique geometric elevations, Jonathan Segal architects develops nine units of modestly priced housing

© Paul Body

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By Allison Milionis

San Diego’s Golden Hill neighborhood displays a colorful history of architectural styles, with Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman-style houses, as well as modest bungalows, 20th-century apartment buildings, and low-rise commercial structures lining its wide streets. For many years, Golden Hill had been deteriorating, as residents moved to the suburbs. But in recent years, professionals and young families have started returning to neighborhoods like Golden Hill, eagerly buying up historic houses with wide porches and expansive yards. But with few of these old houses left on the market, demand has been growing for innovative multifamily alternatives.

San Diego architect, developer, and builder Jonathan Segal, FAIA, has been an active player in revitalizing a number of downtown San Diego neighborhoods [see record, July 2005, page 146; January 2003, page 180] and envisions Modern apartment complexes merging seamlessly with Golden Hill’s historic single-family homes. An expert at urban infill who has completed 19 housing projects in the city, Segal purchased a corner lot on Golden Hill, where an abandoned convenience store and parking lot stood.

With only 9,000 square feet to work with, including the existing building, Segal proposed an apartment complex with a street-level garage and a small commercial/retail space. By allocating one dwelling unit as a low-income rental, he qualified for a building bonus of two additional market-rate units, which pushed the total number of apartments to nine. Although the city approved his plan, it didn’t give him the necessary variance to include the retail space, a big disappointment for Segal, who champions mixed-use development.

Rather than tear down the old building, Segal opted to use the structure, saving nearly $80,000 in demolition and construction costs. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good architecturally, and it’s good for us, financially,” he said. He removed the existing roof and rebuilt it to support a second story, then inserted five two-story dwelling units into the original structure.

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Formal name of Project:
K Lofts

San Diego, Calif.

Gross square footage:
7,800 sq. ft.

Total construction cost:

Jonathan Segal Architect FAIA

Jonathan Segal Architect
1165 19th St.
San Diego, CA 92102

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