USA starts construction on 8181 Allison to provide more workforce housing in La Mesa

Public-private partnership that includes the City of La Mesa, CalHFA, KeyBank and WNC paves the way for 147-apartment community next to a trolley station, bus stops and the city’s Downtown Village

LA MESA, Calif. – USA Properties Fund has started construction on 8181 Allison, an affordable apartment community in La Mesa that will provide much-needed housing to residents, from early-in-their-career teachers and emergency responders to retirees living on a fixed income – all adjacent to public transportation.

The transit-oriented development – located at 8181 Allison Avenue, at the southeast corner of Allison and Date avenues, near University Avenue and Spring Street – is a very short walk to a trolley station and several bus stops, and just south of Interstate 8, an east-west freeway that connects to much of the San Diego region.

8181 Allison is in La Mesa’s Downtown Village, with a large grocery store and pharmacy, more than 30 restaurants, City Hall and the city library. The apartment community has a Walk Score of 90, which means daily errands don’t require a vehicle.

“It’s a development that checks the boxes in so many ways, from providing affordable housing to cost-effective and environmentally friendly public transportation options for getting around the community,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “It’s an excellent location for affordable housing, with easy access to so many businesses and services.”


The 147-apartment community is part of a public-private partnership that includes the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), the City of La Mesa, KeyBank and WNC.

“The City of La Mesa is thrilled that this project, which has been in the works for many years, has become a reality,” said La Mesa City Manager Greg Humora. “We are extremely excited to provide additional housing options for a variety of residents in a prime location with supreme access to transit and commercial options, including the Downtown Village.”

The public-private partnership was key for the $67 million development that will provide affordable housing for low-income residents in a region where more than half of renters are considered “cost-burdened,” spending at least 30% of their income on housing, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Rents for 8181 Allison apartments will be significantly less compared to nearby market-rate units in La Mesa – and available to residents that earn a wider range of income levels, thanks to CalHFA’s Mixed Income Program. The state agency issued tax-exempt bonds and provided long-term permanent and subsidy loans for the project.

“In this economic environment, we have to be flexible, creative and collaborative to produce affordable housing like this development that can be life-changing for families in La Mesa,” said CalHFA Executive Director Tiena Johnson Hall. “I am thrilled that CalHFA and USA Properties Fund were able to work together on a financing solution that includes subsidy funds through our Mixed-Income Program.”

KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment provided a $42.78 million construction loan for 8181 Allison.

“KeyBank has a steadfast commitment to helping the clients and communities we serve thrive,” said Jeremiah Drake, Senior Relationship Manager for KeyBank Community Development Landing and Investment. “We’re excited to work with USA Properties, an experienced affordable housing developer that is committed to making a real difference in neighborhoods.”


8181 Allison will offer affordable one-bedroom and two-bedroom, two-bath apartments in a region where rent increases have easily exceeded pay raises during the past several years. The cost crunch has caused many hardworking, lower-income residents to pay more for housing or live outside the city and commute to work, which creates another financial burden.

8181 Allison will be available for households that earn 30% to 70% of the area’s median income – or about $29,000 to $82,000 per year. Auto mechanics, home health aides, early-in-their-career teachers and police officers, and even many employees in the tech industry will meet the income requirements.

Construction on the 147-apartment community should be completed in late 2024. Rents will range from about $700 to $1,675 per month for one-bedroom apartments, depending on the income of residents. Rent for two-bedroom apartments is about $835 to $2,000.

The apartments are affordable but come with a long list of amenities. The four-story apartment building will include a community room with a kitchen, a fitness center, computer stations, a wi-fi area, on-site laundry, outdoor courtyards, a spa and a sky deck. The 117-space parking garage will include EV-charging stations.

Apartments will feature energy-efficient appliances and light fixtures, ceiling fans and low-flow faucets, showers and toilets.

Residents will also have access to social services, such as financial planning, job search assistance and stabilization.

8181 Allison will be the second USA Properties Fund apartment community in La Mesa, joining Campina Court Apartments about 3 miles away. The company has six apartment communities in San Diego County, including Vintage at Marja Acres Senior Apartments soon to be under construction in Carlsbad. The Roseville-based company – one of the nation’s fastest-growing and largest affordable developer-manager-owners – has 15 apartment communities with a combined 2,800 units under construction and more than 12,000 units under management.

“We are building more than apartments, we are establishing homes and developing neighborhoods,” said Brown of USA Properties Fund. “But, most importantly, we are providing financial and housing stability, and opening the door to more opportunities for residents.”