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Rents to drop at 500-unit Escondido apartment complex

By: Jonathan Horn
Posted at 5:10 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 7:03 AM, Dec 08, 2021

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — In an era of steep rent increases, many residents of a 500-unit apartment complex in east Escondido are about to see their rents go down.

And the same thing could happen at more complexes in the county.

Like many San Diegans, Jacob Maslonka has seen his rent only go up.

“My month-to-month agreed upon was $1,920, and then I received an update on my rent. It went to $2,020,” he said Tuesday.

That's for a two-bedroom apartment inside Solana at Grande, a 519-unit complex east of downtown Escondido. But things here are about to go in reverse.

HomeFed Corporation, in conjunction with the California Municipal Finance Authority, bought the complex for $167.5 million dollars. They're now turning it into affordable housing for middle-income earners — those who make too much to qualify for typical affordable units, but not enough to be able to rent market rate construction.

Households earning 61 percent to 120 percent of area median income would qualify for lower-rent units at Solana at Grande. For example, a household of three earning between $66,551 thousand and $102,000 per year would qualify.

Officials say this deal is the first of its kind in San Diego County, but more are on the way

“There's a handful of municipalities that have already said they are good with the program and open to submittals,” said Kevin Mulhern, who brokered the deal for CBRE.

In exchange for lowering the rents, Escondido is waiving property tax collection. The city has approved four other complexes for this arrangement, totaling 1,035 units.

Meanwhile, cities like Chula Vista, San Marcos and San Diego are studying arrangements of this type.

Rents would decrease as leases expire for qualified resident. Tenants who do not qualify for the affordable units would remain market rate. The units would convert to affordable once the non-qualifying resident moves out.

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