Little Italy unveils development of first micro-housing units

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego's Little Italy community had its eighteenth "state of the neighborhood" meeting Thursday evening, where local leaders announced several upcoming developments.

One of those new developments is a micro-unit housing project coming to the intersection of Union Street and W. Cedar Street.

The site is currently under construction, but will be Little Italy's first housing project of its kind.

The building will house 42 units at 400 square feet a piece. Five of the units will be specifically for affordable housing.

Rent for all other units will run between $1,500 and $2,000.

"It eliminates the vehicle from the equation. So if it eliminates the vehicle, I don’t have to build the parking space. If I can not build the parking space, I don’t have to charge you rent at exorbitant amounts," explained Jonathan Segal, architect of the project.

Segal is a national award winning architect with a reputation for working to provide  desirable properties at a lower cost than similar spaces in the surrounding area.

"I think we are in a transition," said Segal.

"San Diego is growing up, San Diego is a real city now, and I think they are going to start to understand this is going to be a positive, not a negative impact on the community."

Not everyone has hopped on board with the idea you don’t need a car to get around, but Segal says the micro-housing concept also promotes a healthier lifestyle and more pedestrian friendly communities.

Other professionals in the industry agree micro-housing is likely the future for finding affordable housing in rapidly growing cities, like San Diego.

However, Daniela Deutsch from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design says the smaller housing projects still need to be done right.

"If it’s smaller, it needs to be well done. You need enough light, you need enough air, you need good materials you need to feel comfortable."

In addition, Deutsch says a good developer, team of designers and team of people managing the property once its done also make all the difference.

The project at Union and W. Cedar should be completed and ready for residents to move in by June of 2019.