SF officials break ground on Tenderloin family housing project

Source: San Francisco Examiner

By Bay City News | August 22, 2017

People chat after a groundbreaking ceremony for future affordable housing units on the corner of Eddy and Turk streets in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco officials broke ground Tuesday on a new affordable housing project in the Tenderloin that will provide 113 much-needed units largely aimed at families, many of them formerly homeless.

More than 60 percent of the units in the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation project at Eddy and Taylor streets will have two or three bedrooms to accommodate families. Thirty of those units will be set aside for formerly homeless families.

The Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods are among the fastest growing areas for families with children in The City, but many of those families live doubled up in cramped SROs or are in the shelter system, Supervisor Jane Kim said.

“This development will ensure that families doubled up or homeless will finally have a home,” Kim said. “Children will have a clean and safe space to play and study so they can excel at school.”

Built on the site of a former parking lot, the new building is expected to transform the busy corner.

The project will include laundry, bike storage, 24-hour property management and on-site services for tenants, as well as access to a large outdoor area. It will also include streetscape improvements making Taylor and Eddy streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In addition, TNDC executive director Donald Falk said there are plans to dedicate the 6,000-square-foot ground floor space to a “food security or food justice” use.

The project, which is being jointly developed with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development, was more than 10 years in the making and very nearly didn’t get built.

Falk said TNDC bought the property 10 years ago and had expected to build 14 stories and 150 units on the site, but the housing market collapsed and redevelopment agencies were eliminated, cutting most of the funds needed to subsidize the project.

The nonprofit tried to bring in market-rate developers, but the housing market was too weak to make that approach feasible. Getting the project to its current state required loans, complicated financing and support from no fewer than seven different local agencies.

“If there’s anything to learn from the adventure of Eddy and Taylor so far, it is the power of persistence and the power of a community coming together,” Falk said.

Mayor Ed Lee said the project is one of several planned or recently completed in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.

“This is something that has been rare in the past but it’s not going to be rare in the next few years because we’ve got a lot of stuff in the pipeline,” Lee said. “I know the length of time it takes can really hurt all of us, but we have patience, and we have people committed.”

Upcoming projects include 112 units set to break ground at 500 Turk St. in 2018, 83 units at 1036 Mission St. and 85 units at Fourth and Folsom streets. A 65-unit project also recently opened at Sixth and Howard streets.

The City is also working to develop the Civic Center and United Nations Plaza area into a more family-friendly area with new play structures, art installations and local storefronts.