By Kate Snyder
A proposal that is part of a wider initiative to bring hundreds of affordable housing units to San Francisco has been submitted to the City and is moving through the approval process.
The project would be a 170-unit residential development located at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. The developers on the project are the Mission Economic Development Agency and Chinatown Community Development Center. David Baker Architects and Y.A. studio are the designers for the project.
The proposal is to construct an affordable rental housing project that would include units serving formerly homeless households and low-income people living with HIV as well as feature ground-floor commercial use servicing building residents and the surrounding neighborhood.
The new building would be nine stories with a height of 75 feet that would contain 170 residential family units, project plans show. Out of the total units, there would be seven studios, 62 one-bedroom, 49 two-bedroom and 52 three-bedroom apartments. The 2,930 square feet of retail space at the ground floor would face South Van Ness Avenue.
The 0.8-acre property consists of three separate lots and is bounded by South Van Ness Avenue to the west, 26th Street to the north, Shotwell Street to the east, an existing two-story auto repair shop to the southeast and an existing one-story auto parts store to the southwest.
The project is part of an initiative to bring more affordable housing to the city. In 2020, the mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development issued a Request For Qualifications to develop affordable housing on nine sites in San Francisco. Those sites span numerous neighborhoods, including SoMa, Chinatown, Castro and Upper Market. Once complete, the apartments created will be available at an unsubsidized average of no more than 80 percent of the average San Francisco area median income, which is currently about $74,600 for an individual and $106,550 for a family of four. Additionally, a portion of the apartments at each site will be reserved for extremely low-income renters making 30 percent AMI or less – approximately $28,000 for an individual and $39,950 for a family of four.
The Mission Economic Development Agency is an organization that offers free services to low- and moderate-income families with a geographic focus on the Bay Area. The group was founded in 1973 and is “committed to maintaining the cultural identity and enhancing the resources of the Mission District,” according to the organization’s website.
“Rooted in San Francisco’s Mission District, MEDA is advancing a national equity movement by building Latino prosperity, community ownership and civic power,” the group’s website states. “We envision generations of Latino families choosing where to call home, thriving economically, succeeding in learning opportunities and leading policy and social change toward a more equitable society.”
The Chinatown Community Development Center is dedicated to building community and enhancing the quality of life for San Francisco residents, according to the group’s website. The organization primarily serves the Chinatown neighborhood as well as areas including North Beach and the Tenderloin. The center acts as a community development organization with roles as neighborhood advocates, organizers, planners, developers and managers of affordable housing. The group was created in 1977 by several grassroots organizations coming together to form a program to advocate for affordable housing, tenant rights, open space, transportation and revitalization issues.