This article originally appeared on San Diego Community Newspaper Group.
After languishing on the market for the last two years, the old Union 76 gas station property at Ingraham Street and La Playa Avenue in Crown Point is under development. Rising from the site is The Point at Ingraham, a high-end, urban-design, mixed-use project.
At three stories, the apartments and commercial space that will add up to 35,000 square feet will house 21 apartments and 2,266 square feet of retail space, possibly with a café and drycleaners. The lot, which measures 22,500 square feet, will include 45 parking spaces behind the building, plus room for bicycles inside and out.
Brothers Russell and Scott Murfey, native San Diegans who live in Pacific Beach and who have an office kitty corner to the project, are the developers under their Veritas Urban Properties through Murfey Construction. The Murfeys bought the property from Loma La Jolla LLC for $1.2 million.
The Point will include nine two-bedroom apartments, 11 one-bedrooms and one studio. The Murfeys haven’t firmed up any deals for the commercial space, but they said there has been “quite a bit of interest.” The goal is to be finished with the project by the end of this year.
“I believe Pacific Beach needs higher-quality apartment buildings,” said Russell Murfey. “We’re excited to bring this product to the market because it’s different from anything out there.”
He said the current trend in Pacific Beach is for young people to come and enjoy the benefits of the beach for awhile and then leave, because there are not enough high-quality rentals.
“We believe there’s room for hard-working people who want to stay in PB,” said Russell Murfey.
He sees his renters as Generation Y, who are out of school with well-paying first or second jobs, maybe with children, looking for good, entry-level housing.
The brothers, who have built other mixed-use products around San Diego, currently are also building a 4,000-square-foot home on the water in La Jolla Shores.
Murfey said The Point apartment rates will be competitive with nearby complexes, including Avalon at Mission Bay next door, and the new apartments will include such luxury aspects like hard-surface countertops and European cabinetry and 18-foot ceilings in the commercial space.
Murfey said neighbors have been enthusiastic.
Joe Splendorio, bar manager at Rocky’s Crown Pub, kitty corner to the project, said he believes the project will help business “if there’s no retail.” He’s also a bit worried about parking.
Sal Yacoub, owner of the VP Racing gas station across the street, also sees advantages.
“It’s going to be better than it is now,” he said.
But he, too, worries about parking for the new businesses and traffic from the new project’ exits, even though he concedes many customers will be walking anyway. Being a businessman, Yacoub said he’s negotiating on renting a space in the complex for a food court.
Murfey said neighbors shouldn’t worry about parking issues.
“There are plenty of parking spaces; one per bedroom, three for guests and 13 for commercial,” he said. “That’s more than required by city code. We pulled the retail back from the corner with an outdoor patio and a seat-wall as a public amenity for social gatherings.”
Murfey described himself and his brother as locals who want to do the right thing.
“PB has a lot of room to grow into an incredible beach area that’s not just for college kids,” he said “… We’re part of the community and want to be cohesive with Crown Point and Pacific Beach, including our neighbors.”