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Mission Housing pipeline adds new Balboa Reservoir affordable homes

A rendering from the presentation shown at two June 2017 community workshops, where three developer teams presented their proposals. Source: SF Planning website

San Francisco selects team to develop hundreds of units on huge site near City College; fourth development awarded to Mission Housing since 2015

The San Francisco Planning Department today announced the team of developers charged with bringing hundreds of new homes to the Balboa Reservoir, a 17.7-acre site next to City College of San Francisco.

Mission Housing Development Corporation, along with AvalonBay Communities, BRIDGE Housing Corporation, Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco, and Pacific Union Development Company won the competitive process that began in March, 2017, when teams first submitted their qualifications.

Using city land to create housing

The site is currently owned by the City and County of San Francisco via the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).

The Balboa Reservoir Development is part of the “Public Land for Housing program,” a collaboration among San Francisco officials to address the City’s housing needs by maximizing the use of City-owned land.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Balboa Reservoir meeting

June 10, 2017 dozens of community stakeholders pour over proposals to develop housing at the Balboa Reservoir site. Photo by Tony Bear!

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the Planning Department coordinated the RFP process on behalf of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

After the proposals were submitted last May, each was publicly presented and discussed. The SFPUC accepted the recommendation of the panel which reviewed the proposals — and the public input — submitted.

“The winning proposal does an exceptional job of addressing both San Francisco’s extreme housing need and the community’s vision for the Balboa Reservoir,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., SFPUC General Manager.

According to Ken Rich, SF OEWD Director of Development, the winning team “…brings tremendous experience building quality affordable and mixed-use housing, working thoughtfully with local communities, and successfully tackling large and complex projects.”

Partnerships facilitating affordable housing solutions

Two of the developers chosen have already teamed-up on other San Francisco affordable housing. Mission Housing and BRIDGE Housing expect to break ground on 160 new, 100 percent affordable family units at 1950 Mission Street in a few months.

Several entities on the team have built, or are building, in the Balboa Park area. Mission Housing and partner Related California are making progress on constructing new, 100 percent affordable homes across from the Balboa Park BART station.

Mission Housing will develop and own one or more buildings on the Balboa Reservoir site. Habitat for Humanity will develop affordable for-sale housing.

The co-lead developers of Balboa Reservoir are two of the region’s most prolific developers of apartment communities. AvalonBay and BRIDGE Housing will rely on Mission Housing to take the lead with engaging the community during the next several months. This engagement will refine the proposal for the site.

“Much of what we’re learning during our Balboa Park Upper Yard engagement process was vital in helping us win this new award,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “Our main task over the next several months will be to ensure the people of San Francisco, especially those living in the immediate neighborhood, have a say in how this valuable land will be utilized.”

“Balboa Reservoir will be one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in San Francisco. Our plan encourages a diversity of households and families with a wide range of incomes.”

“We’re proud to see our efforts at bringing new affordable housing to San Francisco pay off,” said Moss. “In our immediate future, Mission Housing will provide quality, 100 percent affordable housing for thousands more people.”

“Our commitment to Balboa Park is for the long term.”

The winning game plan

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Reservoir Park

A 2.2-acre green space, “Reservoir Park” will have direct links to surrounding neighborhoods. Rendering: SF Planning

So far, the winning vision re-purposes the 1,000-space parking lot into a new neighborhood with a 2.2-acre green space at its center. Currently dubbed “Reservoir Park” the green space will have direct links to all the surrounding neighborhoods, to create a welcoming public realm. In total, more than four acres of parks and open spaces are proposed.

The heart of the Balboa Reservoir site is dedicated to walking and biking, with numerous walking routes into and through the site. Pathways will connect to surrounding Ocean Avenue and Westwood Park neighborhoods, and to the City College campus.

Numerous buildings of varied heights will contain townhouses, apartments, and commercial spaces. The developers hope to incorporate as many as 1,100 homes in the plan. A shared 500-slot parking garage — part of more than 12-hundred below grade parking spots included in the proposal — will serve both the City College community and Balboa Reservoir residents.

Other parameters for the development, as stipulated by the Planning Department include:
• an affordable housing target of 50% of units catering to low, moderate, and middle-income households
• collaboration with City College on teacher housing
• inclusion of at least one childcare center

Putting people first

Mission Housing will coordinate the delivery of social services for residents of all income levels throughout the new development, and the entire Balboa Reservoir neighborhood.

“Our extensive experience in cultivating services partnerships will ensure that we can deliver childcare and other benefits that will make this development a great asset to the entire neighborhood,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. “We will be in the unique position of programming all the human elements: social services, the recreation at the parks, and the community-serving nonprofits.”

“The input we get from our outreach will help us design and mold a perfect mix to enhance the quality-of-life for every one of our community stakeholders.”

Engineered for deep sustainability

The Balboa Reservoir team also includes Van Meter Williams Pollack and Pyatok as the master plan architects, ensuring the neighborhood “fit” of the development, and directing a community-based design approach. The master plan architects will oversee other architecture firms that will design individual buildings on the parcel, ensuring an appropriate diversity of styles and ideas in a harmonious master plan.

All aspects of the development’s design will be guided by the principles of the EcoDistrict model, to enhance livability, and to reduce the environmental footprint of Balboa Reservoir for generations to come.

READ MORE: Proposal submitted

READ MORE: Presentation to community groups

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