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Mission development once blocked by neighbors now set for affordable housing

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“We need more affordable housing in the Mission and throughout San Francisco so that our low- and middle-income residents can continue to live here,” says Mayor Breed

1515 South Van Ness.
1515 South Van Ness.
Image via Google

Mayor London Breed announced plans Tuesday to turn a circa-1948 warehouse, the home of a former electrical contracting business, into a site for 100 percent affordable housing.

The new project, located in the Mission District, will “likely serve families earning between 30 and 80 percent of area median income,” according to the Mayor’s Office. (The Mayor’s Office of Housing calculates that the unadjusted area median income for one person in SF is $82,900 per year.)

“We’re thrilled to be adding 1515 South Van Ness to the 900 affordable housing units already in progress in the Mission neighborhood,” said Kate Hartley, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, in an emailed statement.

The building at 1515 South Van Ness made headlines in 2016 after plans were revealed to turn it into a market-rate condo complex, replete with six stories and 157 units designed by BDE Architecture.

Protests, neighborhood ire, and concerns about gentrification followed. After all, the parcel sits in the Latino Cultural District and in a neighborhood synonymous with new tech money. The project, which was dubbed “the titanic mess On South Van Ness” by activists, ended up scraped by the Board of Supervisors on a 9-0 vote.

Also, due to a series of concession made by the developer of the project—as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, “developer Lennar Multifamily was able to win political support by agreeing to make 25 percent of the units affordable, creating discounted space for artists and makers and contributing $1 million to a cultural district formed to preserve the neighborhood’s Latino heritage and community—the plan turned too costly.

But now the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will purchase the parcel for $18.5 million. Funding includes a $5 million housing grant from Metropolitan Transportation Commission via its JumpStart investment, and funds appropriated from the unexpected windfall from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF).

“Projects like 1515 South Van Ness are exactly what I envisioned last year when we pushed for the city’s windfall revenue to be spent on building and preserving affordable housing,” said Mayor Breed. “The $600 million Affordable Housing Bond that we introduced last month will continue our progress and I look forward to working with our diverse coalition of supporters to make sure that it passes.”

The Chronicle also notes that it will take roughly $45 million of city funding to get the project going.

The 100-percent affordable housing project won’t break ground until at least 2021.