Mayor, city leaders welcome residents home at new affordable housing project

San Francisco resident Oyundari Chultemdagva was pregnant with her son when she received word in March 2015 that she had been selected to live in a below-market-rate home in The City’s South Beach neighborhood.

Less than six months later and two weeks shy of her son’s birth in August 2015, Chultemdagva moved with her fiance into their new apartment at 280 Beale St.

Run by the nonprofit real estate development firm Mercy Housing, 280 Beale St. is part of The City’s continuing effort to combine affordable housing with market-rate homes, and includes 69 affordable units with 111 affordable units planned for next door at Transbay Block 7, which is expected to be completed in 2018.

“When you put these types of things together with the other projects that are under construction, under permit, you’ve got potentially 10,000 more affordable housing units by 2020,” Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday at a dedication ceremony celebrating the completion of the new homes.

Doug Shoemaker, president of Mercy Housing, said the new homes represent the diversity for which San Francisco is known.

“These are truly mixed-income communities, where we are trying to build together to make sure we have all the amenities to make urban living possible for everybody at all income levels,” Shoemaker said.

The project is the product of a partnership between the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, which contributed about $14 million or half the funding, according to Marie Munson, senior development specialist for OOII. Other contributors included Silicon Valley Bank, National Equity Fund and Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment.

The application process included a random lottery from thousands of applicants, although priority was given to certificate of preference holders given out in the 1960’s – 70’s from San Francisco’s Former Redevelopment Agency. According to Munson, all who applied with this certificate were accepted.

On Tuesday, Chultemdagva recalled receiving the letter saying that her lottery number had been pulled.

“I was pregnant at the time I turned in my application,” she said. “Life was hard before moving into this amazing home of ours. We had been living with our parents in a one bedroom apartment and couldn’t really afford $2,000 for rent every month.”

Chultemdagva, who previously lived in the Sunset District, said moving near downtown was “awkward” at first, but now she is happy and adjusting to her new environment.

City leaders Tuesday acknowledged the project’s complexity, including that the two high-rise buildings were constructed — one of which is market-rate — with a parking garage as their foundation, with different contracts at slightly different times.

“In the midst of our housing crisis, we are opening units for low income and middle class families through the work that happened many years ago so we can provide and help and be part of the solution for some of our households today,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes South Beach.

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