Land-swap arrangement up for approval

A planned development featuring 60 affordable-housing units, retail space and a public plaza could move one step closer to construction if a long-awaited land-swap deal is approved. </p>

The $9 million agreement involves the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — the agency that runs Muni — ceding a 25,572-square-foot parcel on Phelan and Geneva avenues to the Redevelopment Agency. The deal has been in the works for a decade and is set to be approved at the MTA’s board of directors meeting Tuesday.

The Redevelopment Agency will pay the MTA $4.3 million for the land, with the remaining $4.7 million to be repaid through state and federal grant funding, according to MTA spokesman Judson True. The deal, which was first broached in the late 1990s, will not have an affect on the MTA’s operating budget.

“We’re really pleased to be working with our city partners to help improve this neighborhood,” True said.

Under the guidance of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Redevelopment Agency, two nonprofit developers have already been selected to lead construction on the mixed-use project. Of the 60 units, 12 will be for youth in foster care services and 48 are planned for low- to middle-income families.

The retail space is likely to be a cafe, while the open-space plaza will be for students at City College of San Francisco, which has its main campus right across the street.

The land swap is part of the Balboa Park Station Area Plan, an ambitious undertaking to transform the area near the transit depot.

Currently, the parcel is a turnaround site for four Muni bus lines, including the 9X-Bayshore. As a result of the land swap, the MTA will reroute the buses around a firehouse. Service will not be affected by the deal, and Muni passengers will still get dropped off and picked up at the existing location.

By ceding the land, the MTA will have the opportunity to build an operator restroom, improve boarding zones and widen sidewalks.

The land-swap deal must get approval from the Board of Supervisors. If the plan goes through as expected, construction on the new development should begin during the late summer or early fall of next year, True said.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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