On August 2, 2016 the San Diego City Council Approved the Sale of the Truax Property at the Intersection of Union Street & Laurel Street to Architect Soheil Nakshab; Below is his Description of the Project He Intends to Build on the Site:
I am writing this message to you in an effort to communicate the vision that I have for the Truax House property. I believe that we would all like to ensure that the transfer of the Truax house property results in the highest and best outcome for the greater benefit of our community.
I envision a project that respects the historical context of the Truax House and that also facilitates a center that provides both education and a center that serves as a memorial for patients that were given a place of soul healing and comfort in their final days. It is vital that our city’s historic resource is preserved and restored, dedicated in the same spirit that Dr. Brad Truax brought to the citizens of San Diego. Coupling the historical significance of the site, incorporating a community and visitor center, and adding much-needed market and affordable units, we hope to have the opportunity to build a meaningful project that will add value to the greater community. I am interested in creating a long-term project that may live on as a cultural asset for years to come.
I have actively been in close contact with community leaders and the councilman’s office in order to refine the vision for the future of the Truax house and have prepared an outline of what I’d like to achieve on the property. I am seeking a fair-market price for the property and am interested in facilitating the revitalization and development of a cultural resource that will bring benefit to us and our posterity. To further the long-term viability of the project, I believe everything we are proposing to be built to LEED sustainability standards so that we are creating the least negative impact and are building quality for our community. Please see below for our goals for the Truax House Property:
Preserve + Restore the Truax House including Visitor Center
Vital for my vision for the property is the preservation and restoration of the Truax House. I believe this is not negotiable as we need to protect this resource that is a part of San Diego’s philanthropic history. I also believe that an interactive visitor center with elements such as a timeline for the Truax House’s history may be a welcome addition for the property. Also in the center, I believe some sort of memorial for Dr. Brad Truax as well as his patients should be created. We have already been proactive and have prepared a detailed historic report for the City of San Diego and are hoping to have a determination within the next few weeks.
Given my track record of revitalizing aged and historic homes while creating financially feasible projects, I would be honored to perform a restoration for a significant cultural icon. As demonstrated in both my Union 4 project just one block away and my Sofia Lofts project in Golden Hill, my firm and myself have been proponents of preserving the architectural fabric of our neighborhoods while also developing architecturally significant and inviting spaces that complement, not overpower, the historic structures.
I have been proactive with the historic status of the property and have initiated the preliminary process with Historic Resource to ensure the preservation of the Truax House. I am more than happy to share the submittal with any interested parties.
Community Center + Public Art Gallery Created on Ground Level
The Truax House sits on a gorgeous site with views out to the San Diego Bay and Downtown as well as Maple Canyon. Creating a community center with a multi-purpose room and drought tolerant garden area would prove as a great space for tenants, non-profits and community organizations to enjoy. This aspect would continue the tradition started on the property by the AIDS Foundation in Dr. Truax’s spirit with values of welcoming and openness for the community.
A section of this space may be reserved as a public art gallery that could house different local artists’ work throughout the year.
Public Access Easement for access to and from Maple Canyon
Maple Canyon is beautiful open space that is not utilized enough by the community. This may be partly due to the fact that finding an inviting passage into and through is not easy. Opening up access through the Truax property would connect two public resources in a meaningful fashion that allows both places to be experienced more pleasantly.
While this part of our proposal has some nuance of having the adjacent property owner agree to similar goals of giving the public a charming access to Maple Canyon. We are dedicated to working closely with the private property owner next door in putting together the required public access easement as this will bring a tremendous benefit for the community as a whole.
Apartments with 10-15% Dedicated to Low Income Housing
In order to create economic value on the site, I would like to build boutique apartments on the site with 10-15% of the housing dedicated to low and/or very low income housing. It is no secret that we are experiencing a shortage of affordable housing in San Diego as well as market rate housing. This portion of the project will create the financial feasibility required to make this project happen.
I plan on creating architecturally significant housing built to LEED sustainability standards that are in harmony and complement the Truax House similar to what we achieved our Union 4 and Sofia Lofts projects. The insignificant single family home on the corner of the property would be demolished for this new structure. We would also incorporate alternative transportation by providing electric vehicle chargers on site and implement a bike sharing program on the property.
I have lived on Union Street for the past 3 years and see a potential of creating a community cornerstone on the Truax site. This area of Bankers Hill has been somewhat neglected after I-5 was constructed and I believe that my goals for the Truax property would encourage a stronger sense of community in the area.
I invite anyone with interests in this property to support my plan and to be in contact if there may be any suggestions to encourage the spirit of creating a project that brings together a positive combination of private and public interests to create an environment that is a community asset.
Please send me a signed letter addressed to the city if you support my vision for the future of the Truax house. I know that you are all busy so I have provided a letter template if you may like to use it. Thank you all for taking the time to read this message, I greatly appreciate your attention and sponsorship for our objectives.
Soheil Nakhshab, PE
Principal, CEO, ALLIED AIA,LEED AP, BPI
Nakhshab Development & Design, Inc.
2900 4th Ave., suite 100, San Diego, CA 92103