La Fénix is Risen

Site that once served as the City’s inaugural navigation center opens its doors to 155 families and provides 100% affordable housing for San Franciscans

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today celebrated the grand opening of a 100% affordable housing project in the Mission at La Fénix at 1950 Mission Street. Located between 15th and 16th Streets, near the 16th Street BART station, the building consists of 155 permanently affordable apartments for low-income households and will include 40 units for formerly homeless families; there are two additional units for on-site property management. It is the second of seven new 100% affordable housing developments in the Mission that are either already open, under construction, or will open in the next 18 months, following over a decade in which no new affordable housing was built in the neighborhood.

VIDEO: VIEW FULL. CEREMONY HERE

“I am excited to join community and project partners in the Mission today to celebrate the opening of 155 new homes for San Francisco families,” said Mayor Breed. “Projects like this one and the others that will break ground over the coming years are critical to addressing so many of the challenges we face as a city. Creating new, affordable places for our residents to live will help us recover from this pandemic and ensure our residents can continue to live and thrive in the neighborhood they call home.”

Built with families in mind, amenities at La Fénix include a rooftop playground, landscaped courtyards, a spacious community room with a kitchen, and a communal laundry room. Located near BART and several Muni lines, this transit-oriented housing development will help advance the City’s climate goals by promoting the use of public transportation. Residents of La Fenix receive transit passes, and project funding has been directed for pedestrian and bike improvements.

The ground floor features community-serving uses that include a childcare center operated by Mission Neighborhood Centers (MNC), art studios and a gallery operated by Acción Latina, as well as a bicycle repair shop operated by PODER. These community-serving programs are open to residents and the surrounding neighbors. A quarter of the homes at 1950 Mission are for residents of the surrounding the neighborhood.

The housing development at 1950 Mission Street is an excellent example of creative interim and future uses of City-owned property to help address homelessness and affordable housing in San Francisco. 1950 Mission was once a San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) facility with temporary, movable classroom buildings and surface parking. In June 2007, the SFUSD Board of Education approved a resolution designating 1950 Mission as surplus property. Shortly thereafter, pursuant to the California Education Code, SFUSD put the site up for sale, which the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) identified and purchased in September 2014 to develop affordable housing.

Following MOHCD’s purchase of 1950 Mission, and in an effort to meet the growing need for safe and secure transitional services for the city’s unhoused population, the site was transformed into the City’s first interim-use navigation center, operated by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH). The navigation center served people experiencing homelessness in close proximity to the site with the goal of placing clients into permanent housing.

“What a win for the community when we can take an underused public lot and create more than 150 new deeply affordable homes!” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “Congratulations to Mission Housing and Bridge on this spectacular partnership. And to the families moving in, welcome home to La Fenix!”

In July 2015, MOHCD selected Mission Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) and BRIDGE Housing to develop, own, and operate the affordable housing development proposed for the site.

“Mission Housing is proud and honored, along with BRIDGE Housing, to bring 157 units of new, 100 percent affordable family housing to the Mission,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation. “We hope La Fénix will be a beacon of hope and support for the Mission District and all of San Francisco’s low-income community.”

“We’re thrilled to bring 100% affordable family homes and new spaces for community services to the neighborhood,” said Smitha Seshadri, Executive Vice President of BRIDGE Housing. “Collaborative developments like La Fénix will help the Mission maintain its rich history of vibrancy and diversity.”

Major financing for 1950 Mission was provided by a $45 million investment from MOHCD that enabled the $113 million project to move forward. In addition to the City’s investment, the development was made possible by financing from the State of California Housing and Community Development Affordable Housing and Sustainable Community Program. Other financial partners include the California Community Reinvestment Corporation; California Debt Limit Allocation Committee; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Wells Fargo Bank, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

“Projects like La Fenix showcase the shared commitment by community leaders, Mayor Breed and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development to develop well designed affordable housing that meets the needs of residents, while also enhancing the character of the neighborhood,” said MOHCD Director, Eric Shaw. “Our longstanding partnership with the state allowed us to leverage city affordable housing funds with state affordable housing programs to ensure the 1950 Mission had the financing to be constructed and be permanently affordable for low income residents.”

“As the site of the first navigation center, 1950 Mission has been at the heart of new ways to care for and solve homelessness in San Francisco,” said Sam Dodge, Interim Director, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “This former school site allowed us to temporarily shelter hundreds of people while it was in the predevelopment phase and it will now become home 40 formerly homeless families in large apartments steps away from BART in the middle of the Mission. Thank you to the Mission community for years of support in making this happen.”

The nine-story building, designed by local architects, David Baker Architects and Cervantes Design Associated, includes studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Construction started in January 2019 and was completed in January 2021.

Plans for Balboa Park Station, where three Muni trains, four BART lines and seven bus lines converge, include a reimagined plaza that’s more accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and those with mobility impairments as well as a more inviting community space to surrounding neighborhoods.

BART staff members have been leading town halls this month showing design changes made in response to feedback, such as more variety to open space and greater safety upgrades including new lighting and security cameras in the plaza, along pedestrian paths and around the station’s perimeter.

BART Board member Janice Li, whose district includes the Balboa Park Station, spoke at a virtual town hall last Saturday— the second of three scheduled to round out the year — to tout the “public benefits” to riders that will flow from the project.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Hundreds join Mission Housing to break ground at 1950 Mission St.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL GALLERY OF THE EVENT

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed on Monday joined community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of future affordable housing at 1950 Mission Street. Once completed, the project will offer 155 affordable apartments for families, with 40 of those units serving families that have previously experienced homelessness.

“I am committed to making sure that all of our residents, especially families and children, have a safe, dignified place to live, which is why I am so excited for this project,” said Mayor Breed. “I will be introducing a Charter Amendment to streamline the production of affordable and teacher housing and pushing a bond to fund new affordable housing in the upcoming election to ensure we continue building more housing like this in the City.”

Formerly Phoenix Continuation High School, the site was later abandoned and listed as surplus property by San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) in 2002. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development purchased the property from SFUSD in 2015 and the site became the temporary home of the City’s first Navigation Center prior to the start of construction of the permanently 100% affordable housing.

“This is a perfect example of how we should be using publicly owned land. The community and my office joined forces with members of the Board of Education to say YES to using this long- abandoned former school site for affordable housing,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I can’t wait for the day when families — and especially Mission district children who attend neighborhood schools — can move into their new homes.”

The 155 apartments at 1950 Mission will be affordable to households with incomes between 45% and 60% Area Media Income (up to $71,050 for a family of four), with 25% of the apartments set aside for 40 formerly homeless families.

“We are proud to be breaking ground at 1950 Mission, which has served many key purposes for the City over the years,” said Kate Hartley, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “We look forward to welcoming 155 families to their new, permanently affordable homes next year.”

Planned amenities for residents include a rooftop garden, a courtyard, a community room with kitchen, and a workshop operated by PODER that will provide bike-maintenance training to youth from the property and the surrounding community. On-site supportive services funded by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will be provided to residents by Mission Housing Development Corporation and Lutheran Social Services. Another partner, Mission Neighborhood Centers, will operate a new Head Start & Early Head Start youth space. Neighborhood-serving retail space will be available for local nonprofits and entrepreneurs, and affordable gallery and work spaces will cater to the Mission District artist community.

“1950 Mission represents hope and rebirth for a Mission Community long displaced and disenfranchised,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director, Mission Housing Development Corporation. “Mission Housing is proud to usher in the Mission District’s first new 100% affordable housing development awarded to a community-based nonprofit in over 10 years. This community-driven development should be the standard model for anyone who truly cares about high quality affordable housing and community services.”

“We’re proud to be part of this collaborative effort to deliver affordable family homes and an array of community services that will help the neighborhood maintain its vibrancy and diversity,” said Cynthia A. Parker, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing.

Financial partners include the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the California Climate Investment Program (funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund) Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program through the Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., BNY Mellon, California Community Reinvestment Corporation, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, and California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

“1950 Mission will address the urgent need for affordable housing right in the heart of San Francisco,” said Vince Toye, head of Community Lending and Investment for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to providing financial solutions for the development of affordable housing in areas where there are the biggest needs, and we’re proud to support BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing’s development of this unique project with both equity and debt financing.”

The architects are David Baker Architects and Cervantes Design Associates, Inc., and the general contractor is Swinerton Builders. Visit www.1950mission.org for a virtual tour and additional details.

Mission Housing makes good on Mayor Breed’s Executive Directive; announces construction of 4 new ADUs

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that in the six months since she issued an Executive Directive to accelerate the approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law units, the City has cleared its application backlog. As a result of this action, the City permitted more in-law units than it did in the previous three years when the City’s in-law program was first launched.

The Executive Directive Mayor Breed issued at the end of August called for the backlog of 919 units waiting for approval to be cleared and for all new applications to acted on within four months. It also called on City departments to set clear, objective code standards, and work to improve the application process for people looking to build in-law units. Since then, 439 of the backlogged in-law units have been permitted, over 90% of which are subject to rent-control, and the rest of the applications have been reviewed by the relevant departments and are awaiting responses from the applicants.

“We have made good progress to get this housing approved faster, and we will continue to work to encourage applicants to come forward to build new in-law units,” said Mayor London Breed. “This is just a first step. I will not let our bureaucracy stand in the way of building more housing, especially new rent-controlled housing, because we need more places for people to live in San Francisco. Whether it’s streamlining the approval process or eliminating permitting fees, we can and will do more to get more housing built in our neighborhoods.”

Since 2014, the City departments involved in permitting housing did not have clear and consistent standards on what is needed to add new ADU units to existing single family homes and apartment buildings. Instead, departments preferred to handle these complex applications on a case-by-case basis, resulting in unnecessarily long review periods, inconsistencies in direction to project applicants, and a large backlog of permit applications.

Since the Executive Directive was issued, the City has received applications for 206 new units, all of which were reviewed within the four-month timeframe. Of those new applications, 18 units have so far been approved, while the remainder have been reviewed and are awaiting responses from the applicants. Mayor Breed made the announcement today at a Mission Housing Development Corp. property where new in-law units are planned to be created from former garages.

“Mission Housing is excited to lead the charge for the Affordable Housing Community as we increase our affordable housing stock by what could be hundreds of new units converted from our existing Garages,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “During times such as these, in the midst of this housing shortage crisis, it’s important that every neighborhood prioritizes new housing, and thanks to Mayor Breed’s leadership we’re one step closer to solving the housing crisis. Mission Housing Development Corp. is in the business of housing San Francisco’s low income community not its cars.”

As part of the Mayor’s acceleration effort, several process improvements were made by the City departments involved in issuing permit approvals. A streamlined “roundtable” review process was introduced where multiple reviewing departments, including the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection (DBI), Fire Department, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Public Works came together concurrently to review applications. This improvement allowed all agencies to issue comments or requests for plan revisions to ADU applicants all at once, instead of the former linear process.

Efforts to clarify and expedite the application process have benefited from the addition of public services and documents now available to applicants, including:

  • Optional meetings before filing with the Planning, Building, and Fire Departments, allowing for early multi-agency collaboration and identification of red flags;
  • Public information sessions on ADUs for design professionals and homeowners;
  • Dedicated department staff to provide informative and consistent advice to applicants;
  • Both new and updated public information documents, including a first-ever multi-agency“ADU Checklist” to outline all requirements and submittal guidelines for each agency;
  • An updated “ADU Handbook” to reflect legislative updates and requirements for permitting.The Mayor recently introduced legislation to eliminate DBI permitting fees for ADUs and 100% affordable housing projects. Permitting fees are a significant part of ADU project costs and fees on 100% affordable housing can range upwards of $100,000-$150,000 per project.”We are happy to see Mayor Breed and Mission Housing continue to find ways to increase affordable housing opportunities,” said Dora Orante on behalf of the tenants at Abel Gonzales. “We’re also grateful for the creative ways housing can be designed to help others live in one of these units.”

    Further information about the City of San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program is available online at sfdbi.org/adu.