A rendering of San Francisco shows the newly approved high-rise building at 75 Howard St. (Courtesy Steelblue)

Board of Supervisors approves major SoMa developments

Hundreds of new homes are in the pipeline for San Francisco after the Board of Supervisors approved two projects in the South of Market neighborhood Tuesday.

The board simultaneously rejected appeals to the 5M project – which includes more than 600 market-rate homes at 925 Mission St. and nearby parcels – and 75 Howard St. that proposes to transform an eight-story parking garage into a 20-story, 133-unit mixed-use building near The Embarcadero after hours of public comment decrying the neighborhood transformation.

Developers for both projects have promised to subsidize hundreds of below-market-rate homes, in addition to other impact fees. In a landmark deal reached with Supervisor Jane Kim earlier this month, development giant Forest City and property owner Hearst Corporation promised to offer 40 percent of the homes it builds as below-market-rate.

Meanwhile, developers of 75 Howard St. – the first luxury high-rise to seek approval along The City’s waterfront since 8 Washington, a contentious development that spawned political opposition and, ultimately, a new law requiring voter approval for properties that exceed the height limit on public parcels along the waterfront – on Tuesday increased their contribution from $9 million to more than $15 million for below-market-rate housing.

The project approvals come as city residents continue to debate solutions to the housing crisis. Some argue that building more homes will alleviate the strain on existing housing, while others say market-rate developments drive up housing costs and lead to displacement.

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