Midway Construction Project Will See 190 Units on Former Barnard School Land

by on November 26, 2014 · 7 comments

in Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

Midway Barnard Apts diagramThe San Diego School District sold the property of the former Barnard Elementary School over in the Midway area about 2 years ago. Now, it’s the site of a massive construction project that will when completed host 180 apartment units and 10 townhomes.

The project – called the Barnard Apartments – is on 9.5 acres and will be a gated apartment complex.  A company called the Monarch Group bought the site at auction for a reported $16.5 million, and plan to have the project completed by January 2016.

The apartments will include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, as there will be 19 residential buildings. In addition, plans call for a rec building with a fitness center and “teaching kitchen”, and there will be a swimming pool and an artificial-turf dog park.  Each apartment will have their own garage space as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMonarch is a La Jolla–based real estate developer and has built similar properties in Carmel Valley and near Lake Miramar in Scripps Ranch.

According to Ian Anderson who wrote in  San Diego Reader:

The cost of construction looks to hit the $30 million range, on land purchased for about $40/sq. ft. The school district handled the demolition of the school buildings that previously occupied the property, but a San Diego Unified rep could not provide a dollar amount for the cost of doing so.

Barnard Elementary, officially known as Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, moved to the former site of Bayview Terrace Elementary in Pacific Beach at the beginning of the 2013 school year. The Mandarin-language magnet school only briefly occupied the Point Loma campus, which was built during World War II as a school for children of Navy service members.

When this property – and others held by the School District – were sold, they were met with a barrage of criticism from the community – and their own board, in that they sold the land for way under what it was/ is worth, and that they should have held onto the property and leased it out instead of getting rid of it.

One commenter to Anderson’s article stated one of the main criticisms:

School districts should not be playing property speculation games, but that was what was happening with San Diego…. If/when the district ever needs more schools in those areas of the city, it will be hell to pay, in that assembling large parcels will be breathtakingly costly. Like as not, that will never happen. But some sort of real plan for this sort of thing would be a wonderful thing. 

Also, writer Anderson added to his own article:

I tried to figure out what the worth of such property should be, but considering undeveloped property in Point Loma only usually exists as a hypothetical, the real estate savvy people I reached out to didn’t feel comfortable speculating. The math says it went $40/sq ft for the undeveloped property, with construction costs adding near $75/sq ft, meaning the post construction investment for Monarch would be $115/sq ft at ~$47 million.

If they turned around and sold it for double that (a simplistic estimation, I know), that would raise it to $230/sq ft. Looking as sites like trulia.com and zillow.com, I see single family homes in the PL area on the market for closer to $400/sq ft. Not scientific or reliable, but safe to assume it’s a pretty reliable long term investment for Monarch, with rental income likely to hover in the $4 million range annually, presuming an average rent of $1800/month (which seems to be the figure going around currently).

Perhaps more telling is that SDUSD would have sold the Barnard St. property for as low as $10 million (< $22 sq ft). Clearly the Mission Beach property proved more valuable, at closer to $190/sq ft.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa November 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

“Each apartment will have their own garage space as well.”

However, this will unlikely cover all of the vehicles related to tenants of this building. So yet another nearby location will be heavily impacted by cars with little space for the additional vehicles on the street. Why do the decision-makers continue to allow these inconsiderate projects to go through? Maybe I am wrong about the negative impact…but it doesn’t feel like I’m wrong. Is it assumed that half the new tenants will be relying on the bus? A great idea, yet realistic?? I’m just sayin’


Cholly November 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

And the City hasn’t a clue or a care about the inevitable traffic impaction. The bright side is that bringing traffic on the Peninsula to a screeching halt will mandate alternative forms of transportation. I rode the Green Line to Mission Valley this afternoon and there were four bikes in the car going and four bikes in the car coming back. Gobble gobble.


Korla Eaquinta November 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I think this is another ministerially approved project as it doesn’t appear to have come before the PCPB. I also learned that they promised park land and it also appears that isn’t happening either. The city needs to take the Peninsula into account when they allow projects of this size in areas that will impact the communities. There could be terrible consequences IF there is a disaster and the Peninsula needs to be evacuated.

This is also a financial travesty that needs to be stopped and not allowed to happen at Mission Beach. We need to stop giving away valuable properties.


Dave Rice November 26, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Brutal capitalist Dave: this was a great deal, I just wish I had a hand in it!

Local resident/parent of school-age child Dave: holy mother F’ing S who was the F-tard that allowed this hose-job to go through?!?

Watching-the-whole-thing-as-it-unfolded-for-years Dave: meh. Business as usual. Or, in military nomenclature, snafu.


Geoff Page December 1, 2014 at 8:26 am

I believe the more appropriate military acronym would FUBAR.


Kathleen Blavatt November 28, 2014 at 2:44 am

Remember how Redevelopment was suppose to bring public benefits? The North Bay PAC once had the property that was empty property next to the school as a joint use ballparks. Somehow that got knocked of the list. No parks were added in North Bay and now a school was taken out. How has that made the Midway area feel like more of a community?


Doug Blackwood September 14, 2016 at 7:52 pm

How many low income units they got?

“well I guess, if you say so-I got to pack my bags & go
thats right!
hit the road jack & don’t you come back no more”!
For full impact listen to this great song, before you: Hit the road Jack by Ray Charles


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