Bankers Hill residents unhappy about 20-story development

SAN DIEGO – Bankers Hill residents sounded off at a meeting on Monday regarding plans to build a 20-story building at the corner of 5th Avenue and Olive Street. They say the project would change their community.

“They point out that the Cathedral and the Abbey … are historical sites and they're not going to change, but then the irony of it is, they’re building this huge building right next to it which completely doesn’t fit in,” said Suzanne Richardson, who has lived in Bankers Hill for over 40 years.

Residents are also worried about the flight path for Lindbergh Field.

Springline Associates and Greystar Rental Construction and Development informed residents and the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation that the mixed-use building is out of the flight zone. They even provided a letter from the FAA which states, "the structure would have no substantial adverse effect on the safe and efficient utilization of the navigable airspace by aircraft.”

It is taller than the previously approved project but it’s something that's currently allowed with the underlying zoning,” said Omar Rawi, the project manager with Greystar Rental Construction.

Consisting of 224 units, including 18 affordable housing spaces, the building would also provide additional space for a neighboring church.

“It will give the cathedral significantly expanded and improved space for our ministries,” said Rev. Penny Bridges of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral.

Parking is another hot topic: Having lost spots already to bike lanes, residents aren’t happy about losing more.

“Instead the city is saying, ‘No we aren’t going to give you parking, we are going to take away parking just for these developments. There needs to be some give and take here,” said Jim Mellos, the former chair of Uptown Planners.

If approved, developers plan to break ground in 2018 and complete the project in two years.