Chelsea Investment Corp. Honored for Providing Quality Affordable Housing for San Diegans with Developmental Disabilities

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 22, 2016) -- When Chelsea Investment Corp. (Chelsea) opened Independence Point in Lincoln Park just six months ago, it was San Diego’s first affordable housing community built with apartments set aside for people with a developmental disability.

This breakthrough property was honored by industry, civic and governmental leaders on Saturday night during the annual ICON awards, presented by the Building Industry Association (BIA) of San Diego County to showcase the best in the business. 

In recognizing Chelsea’s groundbreaking vision for Independence Point, the BIA commended Chelsea for its “monumental achievement in terms of quality affordable housing for persons or families with a member who has a developmental disability.”

In presenting Chelsea and Independence Point with a one-of-a-kind Honorable Mention in the Best Affordable Project category, the panel of judges said: “These units being the first ever built for the developmentally disabled population is one thing [but] getting the San Diego City Council, the San Diego Housing Commission, State Department of Housing & Community Development, San Diego Regional Center, and the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities to be all on the same page is an amazing achievement of teamwork and dedication for this very important cause.”

Located in San Diego’s Council District 4, Independence Point was also honored in June by the San Diego Housing Federation at the 2016 Ruby Awards, the county’s largest affordable housing industry recognition event. The award for Best Supportive Housing was presented by The Honorable Myrtle Cole, 4th District City Councilmember, who provided assistance and support for the project since its inception.

This is the second Ruby Award for Independence Point. In spring 2015, while under construction, the social service visionaries at the San Diego Regional Center and the Southern California Housing Collaborative were honored as Housing Heroes for their leadership in the project. 

With 25 of 32 apartments reserved for families with a disability, this private, gated complex is located at 327 S. Willie James Jones Ave. Originally designed for market rate for-sale town homes, this blighted piece of vacant land was acquired by Chelsea and transformed in favor of a community devoted to serving this almost invisible, special needs population. 

“Imagine for a moment that you’re a parent or a family member of a person with a developmental disability,” said Jim Schmid, president and CEO of Chelsea Investment Corp. “Your single biggest fear is, “where will my child, brother or sister live when I’m gone?” Independence Point is a place where individuals can live independently in homes that are designed to meet their unique circumstances.”

Thanks to its funding and development agreements, Independent Point will maintain its affordable designation for 55 years. It is convenient to grocery stores, schools and public transportation and benefits from on- and off-site social services provided by the Southern California Housing Collaborative, through the San Diego Regional Center.

Affordable apartments at Independence Point offer three or four bedrooms and a private, attached garage. The development includes a community center with offices, a community room, laundry facilities and three accessible flats for people with mobility challenges, all served by an interior elevator. 

“Though this is a relatively small project in a city with huge needs for this type of affordable housing, we believe this project can be replicated by willing partners in both the public and private sector,” said Schmid. “We were blessed by a coalition of dedicated social service providers, governmental agencies and our innovative planners, designers and contracting partners at Emmerson Construction. We can’t wait to do this again.”

This is the second year in a row the BIA Icon awards have recognized Chelsea, which won Best Affordable Project last year for Alpha Square, a 203-unit building serving homeless and very low income individuals in downtown San Diego.


Since 1984, Chelsea has developed 9,215 units of affordable housing at a cost in excess of $1.5 billion. The firm’s development portfolio includes urban infill, mixed-use, suburban inclusionary, acquisition rehab and rural developments. Approximately 20 percent of the units developed by Chelsea serve specialized populations, including seniors, farm workers, homeless households, and individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. The company is one of the few fully integrated affordable housing developers in the region that offers turnkey development, general contracting and property/asset management services. Chelsea is a long-term owner and operator and maintains a portfolio in excess of 5,000 affordable housing units. For more information, please visit