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Developers detail affordable housing proposals for Balboa Reservoir

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Three development teams outline proposals for mixed-income housing project at Balboa Reservoir. (Joel Angel Juárez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)
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Developers have released competing plans to replace parking spaces with hundreds of units of affordable housing at one of the last empty plots of publically owned land in San Francisco.

Three teams of developers proposed building between 340 and 623 units of affordable housing at the Balboa Reservoir, 17-acres of land that is currently home to a parking lot for City College of San Francisco.

City officials wanted a developer who could build homes for a wide range of income earners and designate at least half of the units as affordable housing, while also including enough parking spaces for City College students.

Three finalists in the process released their proposals to the public at a meeting June 10, each designating 15 percent of the total units for moderate-income earners and 18 percent for low-income earners.

The developers were allowed to set the remaining 17 percent of units at different levels of affordability below 150 percent of the area median income, which was $121,050 for one person this year.

AvalonBay Communities and BRIDGE Housing Corp. would build 550 affordable homes, including 80 homes for rent at 55 percent of the area median income, 24 condos for sale at 105 percent of AMI and 83 homes for rent at 120 percent of AMI.

“At least 50 percent of the homes that we build will have two bedrooms or more, so we’re hoping to attract or retain a lot of San Francisco families,” Joe Kirchofer, vice president of AvalonBay, said at the meeting.

Related California, working with developers including the nonprofit Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp., would build 340 units of affordable housing, selling 116 of them at 80 percent, 120 percent and 150 percent of AMI.

William Witte, chairman and CEO of Related California, said at the meeting that 55 of the affordable units would be designated for public school teachers or City College faculty.

Mercy Housing and the Emerald Fun would build up to 623 affordable homes, including 212 units of housing at 150 percent of AMI for City College faculty, staff and students.

“We have senior housing, we have family housing, habitat for humanity will be building some of those for sale homes,” Marc Babsin, principal of Emerald Fund, said at the meeting. “We also have housing for City College faculty and staff.

Kirchofer said it was easy for AvalonBay to figure out the demand for residential housing.

“The complicated one is parking,” Kirchofer said.

There are currently more than 1,000 parking spaces at the Balboa Reservoir for City College students and faculty to use.

But the need for parking spaces in the neighborhood may fluctuate if City College grows its enrollment. The college has lost more than a third of its students since 2012 but college officials are hoping for an increase beginning next semester.

AvalonBay’s proposal includes 1,260 parking spaces with at least 500 in a public garage.

Witte said Related California, which includes 370 parking spaces in its proposal, could potentially put money toward building a new parking garage on City College property if the need arises.

“We believe that that is very do-able,” Witte said.

The Mercy Housing proposal includes 660 parking spaces, with 135 designated for faculty and staff.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which is facilitating the process for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is accepting public comment on the proposals until Sunday.

City officials have not yet determined when they will select a developer.

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