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Mission Bay affordable housing complex approved despite parking concern

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In Mission Bay, the 1300 Fourth Street site will become a below-market rate 142-unit housing complex by April 2018. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Natasha Dangond)
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The Warriors arena is not the only prospective development in Mission Bay — far from it.

Thousands of housing units would also fit that description. Among them, a below-market rate 142-unit building with a space for the famed 826 Valencia nonprofit to provide literacy lessons for the neighborhood youth.

Despite concerns over parking, the Community Investment and Infrastructure Commission approved the project Tuesday, keeping the development on schedule to start moving in low-income tenants in April 2018.

Amid San Francisco’s housing crisis, such projects can’t seem be built fast enough. The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s development at 1300 Fourth St., between China Basin Street and Mission Bay Boulevard, will offer 80 percent of the units, 114 at or below 50 percent of area median income, or $50,950 for a family of four. Twenty-nine units will go to formerly homeless households. The development includes about 9,730 square feet of ground floor retail.

With just 41 parking spaces, including two car share spaces and five spaces for commercial businesses, there were concerns about whether that was adequate. There will be 136 bicycle parking spaces.

“In my opinion there is not enough parking,” said commissioner Miguel Bustos. When you have families, parents with kids they need a parking spot, they need a way to get around.”

The spaces would be assigned using a lottery system, but Bustos advised instead to tie the spaces to the larger units. About a third of the units are three bedrooms and another third two bedrooms.  “A person who is in a one bedroom, maybe a single person or a couple, it’s a lot easier to ride the bike. You have plenty of parking spots for bikes. There are [136 bicycle parking spaces] there. It’s easier for them to get on a bike to go but if you have a family … it’s harder to get on a bike and go grocery shopping. I would hope that we look into that.”

The idea of actually adding more parking spaces however was basically a non-starter due to costs. “It would cost approximately $85,000 to $100,000 per space or $3.1 million to $3.7 million for another 37 spaces,” said Pam Sims, development specialist with the agency. That, Sims said, “would divert money from other affordable housing developments in the OCII pipeline.”

Sims also noted that keeping the parking amount as proposed was a condition to hold on to a $5 million state grant awarded for sustainable below market rate developments “which is based on parking ratio.”

Final approval by the commission is expected June 2016.

Tiffany Bohee, executive director of the OCII, said there are more than 6,000-plus housing units being built in Mission Bay, of which 30 percent would be offered at below-market rates.

Under that effort, the 1300 Fourth St. project is the second development comprised of all below-market rate following. The first one, 1180 Fourth St., operated by Mercy Housing, was completed last year. The development houses 150-low income families, of which 50 were formerly homeless and includes 10,000 square feet of retail space.

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