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Potrero Annex & Terrace: The Pyramids Went Up Faster

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"Is there a Starbuck's somewhere? I'd kill for a pumpkin-spice latte."
[Image credits: Van Meter Williams Pollack]

It just seems like forever, but it was only in 2003 that the city decided to replace the public housing in San Francisco. In 2008 they got around to the Potrero Hill public housing known as Potrero Annex and Terrace, taking the first steps to replace it under the Hope-SF program. Hope-SF has a dicey reputation with housing advocates- essentially displacing residents for years while their housing was replaced and somehow misplacing the most vulnerable tenants. Some never returned, and construction in Potrero is expected to be phased to avoid future dislocation. There have been meetings with residents to get their input and vision. There's even been a full time "Community Builder" to manage their concerns and keep them involved in remaking the thirty-three acre site, bounded roughly by Cesar Chavez and Pennsylvania Avenues. Design has been in the capable hands of architects and urban planners Van Meter Williams Pollack, probably best known locally for Valencia Gardens.


From the air, left: as planned; right: currently. And yes, that's the Yellow Cab depot and garage in the lower right of each image in a disused quarry.

Currently, from the air (right), the Potrero site looks like a massive train derailment: boxcar-shaped and barracks-like, the multi-family buildings follow the landscape and not the street grid. The new plan remakes the hillside with a grid and reconnects it to the city streets- and perhaps to 22nd Street, with its Caltrain station and further connections on Third Street. Current units are to be replaced one-to-one with additional below-market and market rate housing. The final master plan was presented in February 2010, various reviews- Planning Commission, Supes, Draft EIR and public comment- and approvals will continue with construction expected to begin in 2013. So hold off on ordering the new curtains.
· Potrero Master Plan [Van Meter Williams Pollack]
· Valencia Gardens [Van Meter Williams Pollack]
· Hope-SF [Hope-SF]
· Potrero Housing Project Killing Diagonals for neighborhood Feel [Curbed SF Archives]