Developer sues city after Mayor Filner halts construction of apartment complex near San Diego State

SAN DIEGO - At the request of a council member, construction has been halted at an apartment complex on El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University.

The concrete and rebar mark the start of the Centrepoint Apartment Complex but council member Marti Emerald asked Mayor Bob Filner to stop the construction citing major resident concerns.

Nearby resident Rob Watkins said he was excited about the plans for a mixed-use development on the 8.9 acre lot on the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 63rd Street.

"There'd be some greenery, there'd be some commercial shops.  It sounded pretty good.  It's just a question of how many people can this spot support?" Watkins said.

The answer, according to Mayor Filner, is too many.

“They're really building student dorms.  They're renting by the bed,” Filner said.

The developer has billed the 332 unit complex, about a half mile from SDSU, as luxury apartments. Emerald said it appears to be turning into a mega dorm.

On behalf of concerned community members she represents in the district, she asked the Mayor to step in.

Filner placed an administrative hold on the project in March.

 "We made a mistake to give them what we call the ministerial permits," said Mayor Filner, "The community deserved more honesty."

Emerald sent the developer, Carmel Partners, requests for change including renting by unit, not by bed, and adjusting parking spaces.

Carmel Partners agreed to rent by the unit, but wrote that they are essentially already going the extra mile with other request such as 1,091 parking spaces in the garage, more than 348 that code requires.

Council member Scott Sherman does not represent the district but voiced concern for the rest of San Diego.

"These people did everything they thought was proper, went through all the permitting and everything else," said Sherman, "Quite a lot of other businesses would come here and employ San Diegans and put money into our economy are thinking twice about doing so."

Carmel Partners wrote in a letter to Emerald that “The plans have not changed since April 2012.”

The developer has taken legal action against the city, but in a statement to 10News wrote, “We are in a legal process and intend to work within that process. We are fully cooperating with the City to share information and resolve the matter as quickly as we can. We are hopeful that it will be resolved and that we will be able to move forward with our project in the very near future.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Filer says the developer needs to go through a new, different permitting process.

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