The City celebrated the grand opening of a 100% affordable housing project in the Mission at Avanza 490 at 490 South Van Ness Avenue. Located between 15th and 16th Streets, a block from the 16th Street BART station, the building consists of 80 permanently affordable apartments, 24 of which are set aside for Mission District residents, or residents who reside within a half-mile of the project per the City’s Neighborhood Resident Housing Preference.

The new apartments are affordable to households with incomes up to 30-60% AMI. Twenty units are set aside for public housing relocates from HOPE SF developments who have voluntarily relocated to the Mission.


“I am excited to celebrate the opening of 80 new 100% affordable housing units in the heart of the historic Mission District today,” said Mayor Breed. “It’s projects like this one that will help us reach our housing goals and make San Francisco a more affordable place to live. If we want our city to continue being the diverse place it is today, we must do a better job building housing for working families.”

Avanza 490 is the third 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.

“Every successful affordable housing development in the Mission comes with a back-story of community advocacy,” said District Nine Supervisor, Hillary Ronen. “When this parcel was proposed for luxury development back in 2015, the community put its foot down and demanded that the City purchase it instead. My predecessor, David Campos, and I pushed for the funding that made that possible. As a result of that fruitful partnership between community and City Hall, we get to welcome low-income and working families into their new, forever-affordable homes. Congratulations to Mission Housing and BRIDGE for another great project and to the Mission community that never says no to affordable housing.”

Built with families in mind, amenities at Avanza 490 include a second-floor children’s playground, a spacious community room, 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.

The development’s ground floor features a 636 square-foot commercial space, which will be programmed by a number of local non-profits on a rotating basis. A use agreement is currently being finalized with Associacion Mayab, who will provide initial programming in the space to serve the Maya-speaking community.

“Avanza 490 is a symbol of forward progress and hope for the Mission community,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “Its history shows what happens when a neighborhood comes together and demands affordable housing. We’re extremely proud to play a part in bringing the community’s vision to life.”

“We’re honored to be part of the team that’s bringing transit-oriented, affordable homes for families and community services to a neighborhood that has seen so much displacement,” said Brad Wiblin, Executive Vice President of BRIDGE Housing.

The parcel at 490 South Van Ness Avenue once held a gas station. Following a community advocacy campaign, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) purchased the fully entitled and environmentally remediated site at 490 South Van Ness from the market rate developers and owners in late 2015 after former Mayor Ed Lee conducted a community walk along the South Van Ness corridor where City and community leaders identified the Avanza 490 property as an opportunity site.

In October 2016, MOHCD selected Mission Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) and BRIDGE Housing to develop, own, and operate the affordable housing development proposed for the site.

Major financing for Avanza 490 was provided by a $27.7 million investment for building construction from MOHCD that enabled the $60.4 million project to move forward. In addition to the City’s investment, the development was made possible by financing from the San Francisco Housing Authority (Project-Based Section 8 vouchers), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

“Avanza 490 is a testament to the strong partnership between the City, Mayor Breed, and the Mission Community,” said Eric Shaw, MOHCD Director. “Investing in and creating high-quality, well-designed affordable homes for families with our partners is the model the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is proud of, and will continue to prioritize.”

The 7-story building, designed by local architects, Ankrom Moisan Architects and G7A, includes studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Construction started in October 2018 and was completed in February 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.


From the San Francisco Business Times
By Laura Waxmann

More than five years of community planning to redevelop a 17.6-acre swath of land west of the City College of San Francisco’s Ocean campus came to a head on Thursday when a proposal for a 1,100 unit residential project on a portion of the Balboa Reservoir received its first significant approval.

With an unanimous vote, the San Francisco Planning Commission certified a final environmental impact report for the project and green-lit a development agreement with master developers Reservoir Community Partners, LLC.  The plan is to break ground in late 2021 or early 2022.

“I’m really persuaded by the unique opportunity of the site,” said Commissioner Sue Diamond. “It is rare to have this sized piece of land on the west side of the city that allows for the amount of master planning that has gone into creating an entire neighborhood.”

Read the entire San Francisco Business Times article here

Read the San Francisco Examiner’s article here

Justice4Amilcar Mural unveiled at Mission Housing site

More than four years after tragedy struck in the Mission, the people of the community can now take another step in their healing process.

The Justice4Amilcar Mural, “Alto al Fuego en La Misón” located at 3250 24th Street was unveiled Sunday morning. The mural is the largest in the Latino Cultural Corridor in a decade.

“It’s been an honor to partner with the community to support something that will hopefully bring us all together to heal,” said Mission Housing executive director Sam Moss. “This incredible work of art was created to celebrate the life and impact of Amilcar and Mission Housing is truly honored to be a part of it all.”

RELATED: Listen to the San Francisco inFlux podcast and their interview with the Justice4Amilcar Mural artists on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or Podbean

The mural is dedicated to Amilcar Perez-Lopez, who was shot and killed by officers from the San Francisco Police Department on February 26th, 2015. For just under five years, Perez-Lopez’s death has elicited widespread protests throughout the city and media attention throughout the world. While charges were not filed against the officers responsible, Perez-Lopez’s family in Guatemala, and the Mission community where he lived and died, refuse to forget him and others lost to police violence.

“We’ve always believed that our buildings are part of the fabric of our community and a canvas in which our community can express their voices,” said Marcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director at Mission Housing. “As such, it is their voice that matters the most.”

The mural portrays Perez-Lopez, his family demanding justice, and the other community members recently killed by SFPD: Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Luis Gongora Pat, and Jesus Adolfo Delgado. The mural also depicts immigrants and migrants killed along the United States’ southern border: Roxana Hernandez, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, and Oscar and Valeria Martinez.

“This mural not only remembers the tragedy and trauma of these police killings, but also the hope and resilience of the community that refuses to forget them,” said Father Richard Smith, one of the mural’s chief organizers. “It represents the ongoing struggle to purge SFPD of its decades-long racism, brutality, and corruption. Too many young people of color have been needlessly killed, too many moms and dads still remain in tears. May this mural both honor their deceased loved ones and be a prayer not only of lamentation but also for their healing and hope.”

Located on the new offices of the Calle24 Latino Cultural District, the mural is latest in improvements at one of Mission Housing’s scattered sites — work that began in 2017.

“Alto al Fuego en la Mision” supported by Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mission Night Walks, and organized by Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY). The mural was funded by Mission Housing, the San Francisco Foundation Rapid Response Fund, CHALK, and many generous community donations through fiscal sponsors Saint John’s Episcopal Church, HOMEY, and Fr. Richard Smith.

The mural was designed and directed in community and collaboration by Carla Elana Wojczuk with, HOMEY, Justice4Amilcar Coalition, Mission community, Lucía González Ippolito, and assisted by Flavia Elisa Mora; Lead Muralists: Carla Elana Wojczuk, Lucía González Ippolito, Cristian Muńoz, Anna Lisa Escobedo, Adrianna Adams, Flavia Elisa Mora (painting and poetry), Pancho Pescador; lettering: Sonia G Molina.