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Academy of Art selects developer to create affordable housing under settlement with SF

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The Academy of Art must convert the building they purchases at 1055 Pine St. into affordable housing, per their settlement agreement with The City. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)
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After settling with San Francisco for illegally converting rent-controlled units into student housing, the Academy of Art University has selected a developer to add affordable housing on Pine Street.

Planning Director John Rahaim said on Thursday that the for-profit university will work with the Chinatown Community Development Center to develop the affordable housing required under the settlement agreement with the City Attorney’s Office.

In December 2016, Academy of Art agreed to pay San Francisco $20 million in cash and $40 million in investments in at least 160 units of affordable housing for thumbing its nose at The City’s land-use rules.

“We are working pretty diligently with the Academy on what they are required to do under the settlement agreement,” Rahaim said at the Planning Commission meeting, where the university laid out a facilities plan for the future.

Under the plan, Academy of Art will convert the building at 1055 Pine St. with 155 beds for students into affordable housing, and also redevelop a recreational building at 1069 Pine St. into affordable housing.

The university plans to move the student housing to 2550 Van Ness Ave., which is currently the Da Vinci Hotel for tourists.

Academy of Art has also purchased buildings at 1946 Van Ness Ave. and 1142 Van Ness Ave., which it plans to use for classrooms.

“I’d like to see a very close examination of the historic issues when these projects come forward,” Commissioner Kathrin Moore said.

Moore was also concerned about plans to use the bottom floor of 1946 Van Ness Ave. as a classic car museum, which she called “boring and static.”

Corinne Quigley, an attorney representing the university, told the commission that Academy of Art has “been working diligently for many months now” on the new plans.

More details on the affordable housing should be available when city officials complete a development agreement with Academy of Art in November.

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