Five years to the day after a fire displaced hundreds of underserved and at-need residents, Franciscan Towers at 217 Eddy Street is set to reopen today, with 105 new below-market-rate units already occupied.
The trash chute fire that rendered the building uninhabitable for half a decade came at the worst possible time for residents, about a third of whom were previously homeless. They were put out of a home again just in time for the worst of the city’s housing crisis, with rent prices jumping 50 percent between then and now.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, all of the Towers’s old residents were eventually transitioned into new homes, though many lost all that they owned. Only 15 are returning to the reopened facility; meanwhile, more than 2,000 people applied for residence.
Franciscan Towers is owned by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, an affordable housing developer with some 3,600 tenants throughout the city. TNDC has owned the roughly 54,000 square foot building since 1987. Repairing the fire damage and rehabbing the rest of building cost more than $31 million, and involved work on almost every unit.
A ribbon cutting with smiling civic leaders happened earlier today. The revamped building consists of roughly 90 percent studios, which rent for $615-$1,026 a month. One-bedroom units go for up to $1,099 a month. Compare this to the average one-bedroom in the Tenderloin, which, on average, currently rents for $2,295.