By Star Hughes-Gorup
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Bob McElroy and Amy Gonyeau of Alpha Project and touring Alpha Square, the organization’s beautiful new development in East Village. Alpha Square, located on the corner of 14th Street and Market Street, is a six-story building with 203 studio apartments for previously homeless and low-income individuals in Downtown San Diego. Each of these studio apartments is furnished with Internet, cable TV, and telephone services, and the building itself includes on-site amenities including case management, long-term treatment facilities, and even a pizza shop! The $46 million development was a collaborative effort by The Alpha Project, San Diego Housing Commission, City of San Diego, Civic San Diego, and Chelsea Investment Corporation.
The hardworking team at the Alpha Project – and all of its supporters – are committed to serving those less fortunate through affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for people with special needs, basic and emergency services for the homeless, transportation assistance, mental health counseling, employment training, preparation and placement, emergency shelter, HIV/AIDS education, outreach and prevention, and community services.
What is so unique about this project is that it does not look like an apartment complex for previously homeless individuals – it is a place that any downtown resident would be proud to call home. The building is modern and attractive with unique design characteristics including several rooftop patios, a beautiful glass façade, and a high-end lobby.
What makes Alpha Square so revolutionary though is not its architecture; it’s the concept of permanent supportive housing. Far from a conventional homeless shelter, Alpha Square is a place where clients can access safe, high-quality, affordable housing units under the same roof with on-site support services to help them stay in housing and become self-sufficient. In San Diego, where we have the fourth highest homeless population in the country, I think we can all get behind such a creative solution to help end the cycle of homelessness.
We applaud Bob, Amy, and the team at the Alpha Project for their work in making Downtown a better place – and for transforming the lives of so many of our neighbors in need of a home.
Star Hughes-Gorup is a senior vice president and director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate firm with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Star is a key member of Hughes Marino’s San Diego brokerage team, where she specializes in tenant representation and building purchases. Star also makes frequent media appearances to speak on business issues from a millennial perspective, and blogs about life as a woman in a male-dominated industry at starhughesgorup.com. Contact Star at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT, or firstname.lastname@example.org.