Not long ago, the future was looking pretty dire for the Hotel Churchill in downtown San Diego (9th & C). It sat vacant and neglected, with its redevelopment uncertain. Along came the San Diego Housing Commission and Housing Development Partners of San Diego (HDP), which in addition to providing housing to some very vulnerable people, has also been one of the City’s leading saviors of historic properties. The historic Mason Hotel on Fifth Ave. and A St. in downtown San Diego was another property recently restored by the Housing Commission and HDP.The Hotel Churchill has been surrounded by scaffolding and tarps for many months. However, within the last few days the scaffolding and tarps have come down, revealing the Hotel’s stunning new exterior. Opposite is a photo of what it looked like prior to the renovation – in May 2010 to be more precise. It’s not the same angle but you get the picture. Thanks to the Housing Commission, HDP, and federal funding, it was spared the fate now being discussed for the California Theater.
A 2013 report to the Housing Commission described the building and its condition prior to renovation:
Hotel Churchill (Churchill) is a vacant 94-unit Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel located at 827 C Street between 9th and 10th Street in downtown San Diego (Attachment 1 – site map). The Churchill is a seven-story structure (over a basement) that is approximately 100 years old and is designated as a local historical resource by the City of San Diego (Historic Site Number 634). The Churchill is subject to the City of San Diego’s SRO Hotel Regulations (San Diego Municipal Code Section 143.0510) replacement housing restriction and settlement agreement which require restricting 57 SRO hotel rooms at 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) for a minimum period of 30 years. The Churchill was acquired by the Housing Commission on August 16, 2011, as the result of foreclosure proceedings initiated by the Housing Commission in response to certain non-compliance by the former owner. When the Housing Commission acquired the property it was vacant, in significant disrepair, and was not in a safe and habitable condition. Since acquisition of the property, Housing Commission staff has taken immediate and necessary actions to clean-up and safeguard the property, and to complete necessary temporary roof repair. However, the building remains vacant and uninhabitable.
There are 67 SRO units in a seven story structure. The project was funded with HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funds, Inclusionary Affordable Housing funds, and/or SRO Inclusionary In-Lieu funds, and federal Moving-to-Work (MTW) program funds to HDP – this last part funding forming the major portion of the funding for about $8 million.