SAN DIEGO – A former Rancho Bernardo hotel will be the site of a new affordable housing development designed with seniors aged 62 and older in mind.

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held last week to kick off construction on the Tizon Apartments project at 11521 West Bernardo Court, situated to the west of Interstate 15 in the North County neighborhood. Under a plan drafted by the San Diego Housing Commission, the Affirmed Housing development will convert the 178-room former Radisson Hotel into 175 affordable studio units and three two-bedroom manager units.

All units will be available to seniors earning incomes up to 60% of San Diego’s area median income, according to the Housing Commission.

In a statement, San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert called the development “a critical step towards providing my older constituents, many on fixed incomes, the much needed affordable housing they need to prevent them from becoming homeless.”

“Our senior population is one of the fastest-growing groups experiencing homelessness, with many having to choose between rent or food or medication on a regular basis,” von Wilpert said. “This adaptive re-development of an existing hotel, along with wrap-around on-site services, will give our senior citizens the much-needed relief and support they deserve.”

The project comes at a time when San Diego leaders are pushing to add more affordable options for residents amid skyrocketing real estate prices. Last month, Mayor Todd Gloria announced the “Bridge to Home” program, comprised of seven projects located near current or future transit stops, including some that have supportive services for those experiencing homelessness.

“This is another effort to ensure the City is doing all it can to foster the creation of housing that is affordable to low-income San Diegans,” Gloria said in March.

Of Tizon’s total units, 44 of them are slated to receive project-based housing vouchers from the Housing Commission. The vouchers will help pay rent for seniors with an annual income at or below 40% of the area’s median income, a total of $33,950 for a one-person household.

Upon completion, the facility will feature a number of amenities, such as a game area, TV lounge, a computer room, community kitchen and urban garden space, the commission said. Existing spaces including meeting rooms, a lobby and fitness center, among others, are being repurposed for the project “to foster connection and engagement among residents.”

Also available to residents are on-site adult education classes and programming provided by Engaged Aging, also known as EngAGE, and food services provided three to five days a week by San Ysidro Health.

By converting an existing hotel site, Affirmed Housing is operating on an accelerated timeline with hopes to have the doors open in nine months, placing the opening date near the end of the year.

Jimmy Silverwood, the developer’s executive vice president, said Tizon shows how “out-of-the-box acquisition strategies” can be used to deliver housing to those who most need it. They’ve been involved with a number of other local housing projects, including sites in Carlsbad, El Cajon, Escondido, San Diego and San Marcos, their website shows.

“Our past experience with hotel conversions means that we understand how to create beautiful developments with sustainability, livability and comfort in mind – they just happen to be affordable,” Silverwood said in a statement.

More information, including how to sign up for the Tizon waitlist, is available by clicking or tapping here.