Miller Hull

Standout project tops out at 8th & B in National City

2-12-2021 | Press Releases

Eight-story building features six stories of wood frame construction, over two stories of concrete


A Collaborative Design Effort Maximizes the Potential of Wood
National City, CA ­– Located at 8th & B, the emerging core of downtown National City, is a 130,000-square-foot mixed-use development that leveraged the creative talents of the architect, developer, and builder. On February 8, the project team celebrated a milestone by finishing the structural wood framing on the project.  Developed by Malick Infill Development and Protea Properties, and designed by T he Miller Hull Partnership, LLP, the project offers 127 residential units with ground floor commercial space. The builder is Cannon Constructors.

Maximizing a Building Type
The project maximizes the potential of wood frame construction with a six-over-two design, utilizing I-A III-A & V-B construction types. More typically seen is 5 stories of wood on top of a single story of concrete. The additional story in both the concrete podium and the wood tower allowed for office space to lease at level 2 and tenant amenity plus view access at level 8.

The project team was also challenged by zoning that split the site into two. One half of the site allowed for taller more dense construction, while the other half stepped down to a rowhome typology.  The team worked with Woodworks, the wood products council, on how to maximize the denser half of the site more efficiently.  The team’s solution to meeting the zoning code maximized the potential of the site by driving higher density along 8th Street (as intended per the Downtown Specific Plan) while stepping down and respecting the smaller scale residential neighborhood to the south.

The design team, led by Ben Dalton of Miller Hull, came up with an elegant solution that met the budget constraints of the developer who wanted to avoid building costly below grade parking. Eliminating below grade parking and the related mechanical ventilation reduced construction cost and operational expenses while also reducing building energy consumption. The resulting design was 2 stories of concealed above grade parking under the 6 stories of wood. While building code does not allow residential on the 6th floor, the developer programmed that floor with amenity spaces.

The team also used prefabricated wood walls and floor joists to maintain the construction schedule and budget while dealing with impacts to the supply and labor chain due to COVID-19.


Development Team
Co-Developer: Malick Infill Development
Co-Developer: Protea Properties
Owner Representative: Guided Construction Management
Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineer: H+W Engineering
Contractor: Cannon Constructors South, Inc.
Landscape Architect: McCullough Landscape Architecture, Inc.
Interiors: Tecture, Inc.

Project Metrics
Gross square feet total: 131,368 square feet
Gross square feet by use: 88,283 square feet of residential / 6,378 square feet of retail / 4,054 square feet of office / 29,233 square feet of parking/mechanical storage
Building height: 85 feet
Number of stories: 8 stories
Residential program: 127 total units / 94 studios / 11 one-bedroom units / 12 two-bedroom units / 7 three-bedroom units / 3 four-bedroom units

Quote from Ben Dalton, Partner, Miller Hull:
“Seeing 8th & B top out is extremely exciting for me. The project was all about getting the most out of every decision – bringing a high level of design, of tenant variety, and of business opportunity to a neighborhood in the emerging urban core of National City.”

About Malick Infill Development
Malick Infill Development is an urban infill development firm based in San Diego, California, focused on placemaking, transit-oriented development, and enhancing walkability. For more information, please visit

About Protea Properties
Protea Properties is a San Diego-based privately held real estate investment, development, and management group with over 20 years of experience in retail, office and residential markets. Protea’s success is grounded on a mix of property experience, refined skills in selecting properties with genuine growth potential, hands-on management, a realistic long-term investment approach, and strong relationships across the industry. For more information, please visit

About The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP is an internationally recognized architecture, planning, urban and interior design firm that works to create a regenerative and inclusive future through the built environment. Since its founding in 1977, Miller Hull has been designing dynamic and environmentally responsible buildings that provide enduring value for their communities. The firm has a studio in Seattle and San Diego with work extending across multiple typologies for a range of public and private clients where people Live, Work, Learn, Gather and Serve. Widely recognized for innovative, timeless designs and a partnership-driven practice, Miller Hull has received over 350 local, regional, national, and international awards for design excellence, including the American Institute of Architects Firm Award and Architect 50’s Top Firm for Sustainability. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact
Amy Golden, Paxson Fay