Plans to create a massive rental-unit development on Market Street — a vision shared by a pro-tenant supervisor and a major landlord — continue to find resistance at City Hall.
After a proposal to transform the so-called Trinity Plaza site at Eighth and Market streets into a 1,900-unit rental development was met with opposition nearly two years ago, Supervisor Chris Daly, whose district includes the Trinity Plaza site, was able to broker a deal with developer Angelo Sangiacomo.
The agreement ensured that 360 units of the new development would fall under The City’s rent control laws and be made available to the existing, mostly low-income Trinity Plaza residents at their current rent levels.
Sangiacomo also agreed to offer 12 percent of the remaining 1,540 units to renters at below-market rates. In exchange, Sangiacomo would be allowed to build three buildings that exceeded the area’s zoning limits.
However, Supervisors Sophie Maxwell and Jake McGoldrick, who sit on the three-member Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee, want the developer to include more below-market-rate housing.
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Daly and Sangiacomo’s representatives argue that the project has already been pushed to its financial limits. Prior to Monday’s hearing, Daly helped negotiate a new development agreement with Sangiacomo that put further protections on the 360 rent-controlled units to ensure they remain rental units for the life of the building, and bumped up the percentage of below-market-rate units from 12 percent to 15 percent of the remaining 1,540 units, for a total of 231 below-market rate units.
The committee will hold a hearing next week to vote on the amended development agreement. McGoldrick is expected to introduce legislation that would require the developer to include a total of 285 below-market-rate units.
“I smell that they can afford it. It meets my sniff test,” McGoldrick said.
A rental unit is considered below market rate if it is affordable for someone who earns 60 percent of the area’s median income, which for one person is currently at $63,850, according to the Mayor’s Office of Housing Web site. Under such an arrangement, the developer essentially subsidizes some of the renters in the building.
“As challenging as the economics are, it would be difficult,” said Walter Schmidt, a chief financial officer with Sangiacomo, about adding any more below-market-rate units.