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Support grows for housing project with ‘mother of all mixed-incomes’ on northeast parking lots

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This parking lot at 88 Broadway is slated to become part of a project to 178 below-market rate homes for seniors, families and the formerly homeless.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

An affordable housing development that would transform two parking lots in San Francisco’s northeast waterfront into 178 homes for seniors, families and the formerly homeless is pending approval before the Board of Supervisors after more than three years.

If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in the spring of 2019.

John Stewart, founder of John Stewart Company, the private developer selected by the Mayor’s Office of Housing to build the project along with the nonprofit Bridge Housing Corporation, said the development is a departure from past city-funded projects because it will house a wider range of income earners, from the homeless to those who may be teachers or firefighters.

“I think it is the mother of all mixed incomes in one sense,” Stewart told the Port Commission.

A mixed-income project that would house 35 formerly homeless families is envisioned for 88 Broadway. (Courtesy rendering)

The Port Commission approved the project last week, as did the board’s Budget and Finance Committee on Thursday. Next up is the full board vote on July 24 and later the State Lands Commission in August.

The development is on two contiguous parking lots in the Northeast Waterfront Landmark District — one at 88 Broadway, which is owned by the Port of San Francisco and another at the adjacent 735 Davis St, owned by The City. The site is bounded by Vallejo, Front and Davis streets and Broadway.

The 88 Broadway development comprises two six-story, mixed-use residential buildings of 125 affordable apartments with a 5,000 square foot restaurant that would seat 120 patrons. There would also be a 4,300-square foot space for a child care center.

The project is considered an affordable family housing development, with 23 three-bedroom units, 46 two-bedrooms, 37 one-bedrooms, 18 studios and one manager unit. It is expected to house about 35 formerly homeless families.

Todd David, of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, a pro-development advocacy group, told the Port Commission that the project “really fills so many of the holes that we have in San Francisco on housing,” including the so-called “missing-middle income housing.”

“Every year at the beginning of the school year there are about 180 classrooms without teachers … because teachers cannot afford to live in housing in San Francisco,” David said. “That missing middle, people who are making above 60 percent [area median income] but they can’t afford market rate housing in San Francisco, we’ve built almost no housing for those people in San Francisco for about 30 years.”

For example, five of the total units are reserved for families who earn 120 percent of the area median income, which for a family of four is $142,100.

Port Commissioner Gail Gilman praised the project, but also emphasized the need for The City to adequately fund services for the formerly homeless families who would move into the approximate 35 units being set-aside for them. She said that the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has a per-unit funding cap for services but it “is not adequate.” “I want to make sure we are not setting the developer up for failure,” she said.

Port staff said that The City will discuss further the level of services, and noted officials are discussing changing the cap rates as well.

The 735 Davis St. development has 53 units, a mix of studios and one bedrooms, for seniors and a cafe.

Combined, the development costs $128 million, which will come from several sources, including coming tax credits, grants, the developer equity and Mayor’s Office of Housing.

Under a 2012 state law, Assembly Bill 2649, The City needs to pay the Port fair market rate value for the 88 Broadway site. The site is appraised at $14.9 million. Funding for the purchase is expected to come from “inclusionary housing fees generated by market-rate housing development on Parcel K North, adjacent to the Pier 70 Special Use District,” a budget analyst report said.

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