New digs going to ex-homeless

Ground-floor retail outlets and supportive housing will move into the first building expected to be constructed as part of a planned new South of Market neighborhood.

Construction of a boxy, yellow and gray, eight-story building for formerly homeless residents is planned to begin next spring near the Transbay Transit Terminal and wrap up by 2013.

The residential building is one of 39 planned to be built within a 10-block area surrounding a transit hub that was freed up for redevelopment after freeways and connectors were toppled in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The 120-unit building at the east corner of Folsom and Essex streets will be filled with studio and one-bedroom apartments. On-site counseling services for residents will be available on the ground floor.

“The goal of this,” Redevelopment Agency Project Manager Olson Lee said, “is to keep people housed and then to work on whatever issues they have, whether it’s a psychiatric illness or something along those lines, and to try to connect them with all the services available in The City.”

Storefronts designed to accommodate and entice neighborhood-serving shops are planned along Folsom Street, Lee said.

The design, by local architect Richard Stacy, is reminiscent of brightly mottled buildings that dominate the young Mission Bay neighborhood farther south along the Bay shore.

The building will eventually be dwarfed by scores of taller residential towers up to 55 stories.

The centerpieces of the new neighborhood will be a 100-story office tower with a 5.4-acre adjacent park built atop a rebuilt transit terminal with an underground train station.

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