A request for proposals issued Monday for the temporary use of the former Haight Street McDonald’s site calls on interested groups to create a “flexible” space that includes services and employment opportunities for low-income people as well as a robust community safety plan.
The 7,813 square-foot site at Stanyan and Haight streets was purchased earlier this year by The City and is pegged for development into more than 100 affordable apartments, but construction will not begin for another five years. In the meantime The City is looking for a temporary use to keep the space active.
While the RFP indicates that the space could be used in a number of ways — including for hosting “art, culture, music, health, food and beverage services, and/or other components” — it comes with the firm requirement that any commercial use must create jobs for at least 51 percent low and moderate income people.
In addition, the site’s temporary operator must also provide a public service geared primarily toward low and moderate-income clients, such as child care, education, senior or homeless programs.
These requirements are tied to federal funding that will eventually be used to develop the site into housing; interim activation is required to avoid indefinite vacancies at sites slated for development.
The San Francisco Examiner previously reported that ahead of the RFP’s release, a number of community groups had floated competing ideas for the site, which is currently being operated as a parking lot through the holidays.
Merchants want the site to be used as a community hub with rotating art exhibits and potentially a theater, encouraging foot traffic while not competing with local businesses.
Proposals to turn the lot into a soccer field for at-risk youth or into the new home of Off The Grid — a collective of street food trucks and vendors that host events throughout The City and used to host one near Golden Gate Park before upcoming transit improvements displaced it — have also been pitched.
But with a number of critical homeless youth services displaced from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in recent years, service providers have called for the site to be used as a resource hub for transitional age youth who are aging out of foster care.
At-risk, transient youth have historically congregated in Golden Gate Park and along Haight Street, but Supervisor Vallie Brown, whose District includes the neighborhood, said that she would also like to see services for seniors prioritized.
“There are currently no services for seniors in that area, the closest are in the Western Addition,” said Brown. “My priorities include some services for the most vulnerable — not only for transitional age youth but also for seniors.”
But Brown also indicated that city funding for such services is limited, and would likely fall on the shoulders of nonprofits providing services out of the lot.
“Right now we have funding to bring in homeless youth services once a month,” said Brown, adding that The City’s Department on Homelessness and Supportive Housing does not have funding for trailers out of which services would be run on a daily basis.
Brown suggested that the services could be brought to the neighborhood in the form of a monthly health fair.
She also listed a “good site management plan” as another priority.
According to the RFP, requirements leveraged on the site’s potential temporary operators by The City include a financial plan demonstrating self sustainability, as MOHCD “cannot use its housing funding sources for non-housing interim uses.”
The selected operators would also be responsible for securing the site, and must demonstrate that its uses would not compete with the neighborhood’s businesses or pose safety risks for nearby residents.
An initial lease will be issued for three years, with the potential of a two-year extension. Applicants are asked to provide a five-year budget plan along with their proposals.
An information session for applicants is scheduled for Jan. 31, and the RFP will close on Feb. 28. Proposals are expected to be reviewed in March and a site operator chosen in April, with the site expected to open to the public by the summer.
Before the site can be developed, the shuttered McDonald’s building must first be demolished.
Brown said that the parking lot will be fenced off after the holidays so that demolition can begin.
The RFP can be viewed here.