20-Unit Bland Apartment Complex on 4800 Block of Niagara Sells for $3 Million

by on August 8, 2012 · 7 comments

in Civil Rights

Trust Sells San Diego “Multifamily” Located Two Blocks from Pacific Ocean

A large, 20-unit apartment complex at 4843-4851 Niagara Avenue has just been sold.  Listed as a “garden-style” apartment, the massive spread sold for $3 millions, or about $150K per unit. Located in the middle of the block, it’s only two blocks from Sunset Cliffs and the ocean.

The complex consists of 3 two-story buildings, which are large rectangles that include a total of 11,640-square-feet in the twenty one-bedroom apartments.  Although called by realtors and others in the business as “garden-style”, we really cannot see anything “garden-like” about the rather bland, concretized area that makes up the grounds of the complex.  There are a number of trees inserted between two of the buildings, but there is so much cement everywhere, that it really is a joke to describe the complex as anything having to do with a “garden”.

The Helen Franklin Trust sold what is called a multifamily complex – but with every unit a single-bedroom, how many “families” can actually live in it.  This is the type of constructed apartment complex in the late Sixties, huge, massive, ugly, with all kinds of curb cuts – that spurred on the development of construction and building guidelines for Ocean Beach, that resulted in an updated OB Precise Plan and the constituting of the OB Planning Board.

Vince Provenzano and Shirley Kanamu of Pacific Coast Commercial represented the seller. Tommy Williams of Century 21 Advantage represented the buyer in the sale.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bearded OBcean August 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Frank, maybe it’s an eyesore, but it’s places like this, with generally cheapish rent, that allows for a number of people to benefit from living at the beach, who would otherwise be unable to afford to.


Frank Gormlie August 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

So true … I wonder what the rents are. It was the unbridled onslaught of apartment construction in the late Sixties and early Seventies that galvanized OB into realizing it had a right as a community to place limits on construction and development, that even renters have a say in what goes down – or what goes up in the neighborhood. Our current Planning Board – once elected in 1976 – is a result of that grassroots activism.


dave rice August 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I caught this one too, a while back it seems like…”garden apartments” are typically two buildings close together with a narrow green belt between them, with outdoor hallways on either side. Whether or not you call that a garden (my apartment “garden” is a 2′ by 15′ stretch of planter overloaded with tomatoes, squash, cucumber, peas, peppers, herbs, and berries) is your call.

Also, technically a “family” is an independent living unit – it could be a single person or a childless couple – therefore “multifamily” units constitute anything with more than a single dwelling on one parcel. Usually, though, it denotes five or more units, as financing differs once you top four units on a lot.


Frank Gormlie August 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I have to laugh when I see boxes described as “garden” anything – it’s totally a marketing ploy.

Also, Definition of FAMILY
: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head.

So “family” is more than one person.


dave rice August 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Real estate speak, I guess. However, a childless couple could still both qualify under your definition and be a “family” for the purposes of the apartments.

I’ve always lived in funky one-off complexes, don’t think I could stand one of those generic boxes…


Chapelo August 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

I live in one these type apartment buildings on Santa Cruz and Cable…a well-kept, mostly original 1950s era complex with concrete as far as the eye can see, little green space, a pool (seriously, who needs a pool at the beach?). But I pay only $995 for a one bedroom, and have a parking space, which we all know is worth it’s weight in gold around here. It’s a comfortable place to live, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in OB otherwise, considering how overpriced the single family homes around here are (and I say this as an OB native!).


Brenda McFarlane August 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Thanks for keeping us informed Frank!


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