Area nonprofit looking to turn Midway postal facility into homeless community
by Anthony Gentile
Published - 08/11/10 - 03:18 PM | 4426 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Amikas, a local nonprofit group, is proposing to purchase the 436,000-square-foot Midway Processing and Distribution Facility in Point Loma and turn it into a self-contained neighborhood for up to 2,000 locally homeless people. 	Photo By Paul Hansen
Amikas, a local nonprofit group, is proposing to purchase the 436,000-square-foot Midway Processing and Distribution Facility in Point Loma and turn it into a self-contained neighborhood for up to 2,000 locally homeless people. Photo By Paul Hansen
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While the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) examines potential buyers for its Midway Processing and Distribution Facility in Point Loma, a local nonprofit group known as Amikas sees a direction for the facility that could also help with local homelessness issues.

Amikas officials are submitting a proposal to turn the 436,000-square-foot building into a sustainable neighborhood for the homeless.

The proposal is only one being considered by the Postal Service, which is seeking to liquidate the property and downsize services and facilities in times of declining revenues.

“We’re looking at a solution that has a positive impact on the area because people will live there, work there and be earning money they can spend in the neighborhood,” said Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, founder of Amikas. “All the services that they need will be in one location.”

Amikas’ idea is an eventual neighborhood of 2,000 people inside the former postal facility, complete with employment and small households for those currently without homes. Criscenzo del Rio said the concept would create a sense of community and family for those who live within, with clusters of six 10-people households separating the residents.

“There’s an awful lot of people that are good, working people that play by all the rules that never in a million years expected that they would end up without a place to live,” Criscenzo del Rio said. “Those are the people we want to provide an opportunity to.”

Even though Criscenzo del Rio said the cooperative neighborhood would be open to all local homeless residents, the focus of the effort would be to find homes for local homeless veterans. She said the proposed community would allow recent veterans a chance to decompress when they return.

“This is a military town and it is deplorable and unacceptable that we have so many of our returning troops who have served our country and they come home and there’s no jobs,” Criscenzo del Rio said.

The Midway location wasn’t the first site Amikas looked at for the concept. Criscenzo del Rio said the original plan involved a site to build houses near downtown and they also looked at Tecolote Canyon Golf Course in Clairemont as a possible location.

“We came to have to realize that there was no way that anyone was going to part with one of those golf courses. Then we found out about the Midway Post Office facility,” Criscenzo del Rio said. “It’s not what our original idea was, but the more we looked at it we decided it could work.”

Criscenzo del Rio declined to discuss financial specifics of a potential purchase. She did say, however, that Amikas is hoping for financial support from the community, grants and local government to make the plan work.

Amikas held a community meeting about the proposal Aug. 10 at the San Diego Community College West City Point Loma campus. At the meeting, Amikas officials discussed the project with residents and businesses.

“It’s really important that people do know what’s going on,” Criscenzo del Rio said. “This isn’t a big secret and we’re not trying to shove anything down anybody’s throat here.”

USPS spokeswoman Eva Jackson said USPS is currently reviewing the multiplproposals put forth to purchase the facility. Earlier this year, USPS teamed with real estate company CB Richard Ellis to identify potential buyers, a process that concluded in March.

“We are still in the process of doing our due diligence on the proposals that have been received and are not prepared to offer any details at this time,” Jackson said,

The Midway Processing and Distribution Facility is located at 2535 Midway Drive in Point Loma. For more information, visit www.amikas.org.

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