Alcantara Court

Alcantara Court — modern living for seniors

Alcantara Court is a 50 unit apartment complex for seniors built by Mission Housing Development Corporation in 1998. The builder was James E. Roberts-Obayashi Corporation General Contractors. The designers were architects Daniel Solomon, Anne Torney, and John Ellis of Solomon E.T.C.

Design features

The 20,000 square foot site consists of two 4-story buildings around a mid-block courtyard. Amenity spaces — a large multi-purpose community room with kitchen, a physical therapy room, a library, and a community garden — were located on circulation routes. This arrangement encourages seniors to come out of their units and participate in the social life of the building. Laundry facilities and a parking garage are also found on the premises. The landscaped open areas of the complex feature planted areas with palms and columnar trees, and a central garden courtyard accessible to all residents for outdoor gatherings and casual seating. Residents find gardening in the smaller planting areas is therapeutic.

Resident services

Mission Housing staff provides supportive services, in-house case-management and referral to a full range of partner agencies. Residents also participate in a monthly calendar of activities and community meetings.

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Alcantara Court is a senior low income housing apartment subsidized by the HUD 202 program from the Housing and Urban Development Division of the federal government. Capital financing sources included the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing.

Abel Gonzalez Apartments

Quality affordable senior housing created from historic Mission building

Abel Gonzalez Apartments is a 30-unit apartment complex for seniors built by Mission Housing Development Corporation in 1992.

Design features

The building is a four-story, over basement, reinforced concrete, steel frame structure intended to be fireproof. The 65′ x 115′ rectangular lot is on the east side of Capp Street between 25th and 26th Streets. The original design style was Classical Revival/Industrial, however this style was altered in the transition to an apartment building.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | 1045 Capp St.

“The Mission Exchange” of The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company, circa 1927. Photo: public domain.

Now clad in brick and smooth stucco, the primary façade faces west and includes eight structural bays. Decorative features at the primary façade include rusticated pilasters at the building’s corners, sill courses at third-story windows and an intermediate fretted cornice between the third and fourth floor. The primary façade terminates in a bracketed cornice. Windows on the north façade retain the exterior roll-down shades, hood and rails.

A large common area, serves as kitchen, recreation room and space for community meetings. Color coding of each floor assists seniors in identifying their floors. The colors also help reduce the institutional feel often pervasive in multi-unit senior housing.

An important part of Mission history

The building at 1045 Capp St. was erected in 1908 to serve as an exchange building for The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company. After the morning of May 2nd, 1909, the site became known as “The Mission Exchange,” when 2300 Mission District phone customers were connected to the rest of the city. As many as 4000 people would be served within a few weeks.

The building suffered extensive structural damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and was subsequently abandoned as an office building.

Acquisition and rehabilitation

In 1990, Pacific Bell donated the structure to Mission Housing Development Corporation. The conversion to apartments was completed in 1992 at a total cost of $3.6 million. The general contractor for the conversion was ZCON Builders; the architects were Kodama Associates (now Kodama Diseño Architects).

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Loma Prieta earthquake damage

1045 Capp St. suffered extensive structural damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Photo by Phillip Dochow.

The Abel Gonzalez development received a National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Award of Merit in 1993, in what was then known as the Economic Innovation category. The award recognized affordable housing developed “in an innovative manner,” i.e. creative financing, public/private partnerships, mixed income developments, adaptive reuse, or special needs housing.

Funding programs

The combination of scarce public dollars with valuable private resources created new, much needed housing units in the Mission District.

Abel Gonzalez Apartments were developed using and operates with HUD 202 funds, and monies from the SF Mayor’s Office of Housing-Hotel Tax Fund. Rental costs of all the units at Abel Gonzalez are supported by HUD-Section 8.

Supportive resident services

Mission Housing Resident Services staff provides supportive services, in-house case-management and referral to a full range of partner agencies. Residents also participate in a monthly calendar of activities and community meetings.

A historic namesake

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Abel Gonzalez Apartments

Phillip Dochow of Mission Housing (right) confers with a rep from ZCON Builders during the conversion of Abel Gonzalez Apartments. Photo by Jim Dennis.

Abel Gonzalez was a Mission District activist and head of the Centro Social Obrero caucus of the Building and Construction Workers Union, Local 261.  The Obreros provided English-language classes, citizenship programs and social services for Spanish-speaking union members.

Gonzalez was also engaged in the Mission Coalition Organization, also known as the MCO, a grassroots alliance of several dozen community groups. In its heyday, the multi-issue body of more than 12,000 people became the democratic voice of 70,000 Mission District residents. Mission Housing Development Corporation is one of several progeny organizations of MCO activism.

Information from SF Planning, FoundSF, LocalWiki and PTM – The Pacific Telephone Magazine, Volumes 1-2 contributed to this post

Apartamentos de la Esperanza

Esperanza Apartments — safe, decent affordable senior housing within an urban neighborhood

Esperanza Apartments and Betel Apartments were the first major new construction undertakings for Mission Housing. Both were completed in 1976. The original design architect for Esperanza was Burger & Coplan; the contractor was Mapco Construction.

The development features a landscaped garden terrace and a community room. The garden courtyard provides a quiet, secure space to warm in the sun or enjoy lunch with neighbors.

Esperanza Apartments undergo renovation

The entire Esperanza Apartments complex was completely refurbished in 2015. Residents were relocated and their furnishings put in storage as construction crews moved from building-to-building. Units were gutted down to the frame and modernized with new appliances, woodworking, flooring and ventilation. Asbestos mitigation was performed, and upgrades to energy, lighting, insulation and water efficiency were made. Improvements were also made to the exterior, common areas and the garage.

BASIS Architecture & Consulting designed the refurb. Nibbi Brothers General Contractors was in charge of the 100% union construction job. The rehab was accomplished with zero public funds.

After the preservation undertaking was completed, Mission Housing staff, local dignitaries, builders and others attended a re-dedication ceremony that celebrated the completion of the Esperanza and Colosimo complexes.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | GreenPoint rated Build it Green Institute
Esperanza Apartments achieved a 100 rating from the Build it Green Institute as a Silver category Green Point Rated project

Remodeled to trusted environmental standards

Mission Housing is always committed to go above and beyond code and funding requirements to deliver a green, efficient building to our residents.

In addition to the efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality benefits, Mission Housing also had the refurb certified under California’s GreenPoint Rated program. Third party verification of all construction materials and practices is required to accomplish a GreenPoint Rating.

Committed to affordable housing

Affordable housing properties are always at risk of being converted to market rate. Mission Housing voluntarily extends the affordability restriction after renovating, to continue preserving high-quality affordable housing stock in San Francisco.

Crocker Amazon Senior Apartments

San Francisco affordable housing builders team up to construct Crocker Amazon Senior Apartments

Crocker Amazon Senior Apartments is an affordable rental housing community with a total of thirty-six Section 8 assisted living units. These affordable apartments provide an independent living environment for seniors. Also known as CASA, the complex was co-developed with Bernal Heights Housing Corporation. Construction on Crocker Amazon Senior Apartments was completed in 2005, after an intensive community process. The site is now a jewel of the Crocker Amazon neighborhood.

The three-story, Spanish-style building was constructed on the site formerly occupied by a Mel’s Diner (purportedly, the restaurant was visited by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”)

Designed by SGPA Architecture & Planning, the design incorporates features of adjacent homes “honoring” the surrounding residents. A trapezoidal site on a major transit corridor in San Francisco, the complex features a community room with attached kitchen, an exercise room and courtyard garden.

Primary development funds were provided by US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 202 – Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Federal Home Loan Bank, San Francisco – Affordable Housing Program (AHP)

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