Revised 5th and Mission plan adds affordable housing and open spaces


One of San Francisco’s biggest and most anticipated mixed-use development projects in recent years is being redesigned to make it more politically acceptable.

Developers seeking to build the project on four acres next to the Chronicle Building on Fifth and Mission Streets are stepping up their commitments to affordable housing and open space in a bid to gain approval in an increasingly political environment. more demanding in terms of affordable housing.

As part of the new plan, developer Forest City, in partnership with Hearst Corp., owner of The Chronicle, agreed to make 33% of the project affordable.

They plan to build an 83-unit low-income senior citizen housing project on an empty 8,800-square-foot lot at 967 Mission Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets, and contribute $ 18 million to an affordable family complex in 103 housing units planned for Taylor and Eddy streets. Additionally, 20 percent of a 288-unit apartment building on the development site would be reserved for families earning 50 percent of the area’s median income, or about $ 50,000 for a family of four.

Connecting the city center, SoMa

Mayor Ed Lee said the project, known as 5M, is the first private development to meet the targets of the 2014 K proposal, which called for 33% of housing produced in the city to be affordable for families in low and moderate income.

“We made it clear to Forest City from the start that we wanted them to maximize the affordable housing component of the 5M project,” Lee said Monday.

If approved, the project would close the gap between intensive development south of Market east of Third Street and the new Mid-Market district, where the influx of tech companies has sparked a flood of investment. in luxury accommodation, hotels and new retail. The developers hope to get final approvals in November and start construction around a year later.

Audrey Tendell, Director of Development for Forest City, said the goal is to “create a vibrant place that connects downtown and SoMa for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

“We would like 5M to be a place that reflects the diversity of the neighborhoods it connects to, which already includes an important mix of uses for the people who live and work here, as well as the students who go to school here,” she declared. noted.

More open space

The new plan increases the open space on the main floor from 12,000 square feet to 26,000 square feet. This was made possible by the elimination of a 226,000 square foot office building. The plan now calls for a 614,000 square foot office building consisting of two towers on Fifth and Howard streets, a 400-unit, 470-foot-high condo tower on Fifth and Minna streets, and the apartment building. rentals on Mission Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets.

The developers are also seeking to appease historic conservatives by agreeing to save a 9,500 square foot 1923 structure known as the Cameline Building on Natoma Street. In addition, the 1924 Dempster Printing Building on Minna Street and the Chronicle Building at 901 Mission Street would be retained. The roof of the Chronicle building would become an open space accessible to the public.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the area, said she had not yet taken a position on the plan but called the affordable housing pledge an “extraordinary commitment.”

The developer “is committed to building 100% affordable housing at heavily subsidized income levels for working class families and seniors on fixed incomes,” Kim said. “These are the types of housing that residents of this neighborhood demand overwhelmingly, so that they can stay in San Francisco.”

Addition of senior housing

The rental property would include 58 units that would be available to families earning less than $ 50,000 for a family of four. The senior housing complex would be constructed at 967 Mission Street, currently a parking lot.

“There isn’t a lot of senior housing being built in the southern part of the market, but if you look at the numbers, there is definitely a need for it,” Tendell said.

Additionally, Forest City has committed $ 1.5 million for workforce development, $ 2.5 million for youth services and $ 3 million for pedestrian improvement in surrounding areas. . The project would generate approximately $ 68 million in transit costs, green space, jobs, affordable housing and the arts.

Don Falk, executive director of Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp., which is building the project at Taylor and Eddy, said the $ 18 million would fund 71 units of the 103 unit development.

John Eberling, who heads South of Market affordable housing group TODCO, said Forest City “is on the right track.”

“This will be a really good neighborhood open space, and affordable housing off-site is the right thing to do,” Eberling said. “We still have to go through all the details to make sure the package is correct.”

But not everyone is buying the new plan. Resident Jane Weil, who lives in the 22-story SoMa Grand building on Seventh and Mission streets, said the proposed condo tower was way too high. She opposed the “ad hoc zoning” sought by Forest City. She said the tallest buildings should be 180 feet.

“This is not about NIMBYism – I live in a skyscraper,” she said. “But they want to build one that’s double the height of our building. They put a group of four towers similar to Rincon Hill in the middle of the center of SoMa. “

Concerns about displacement

Angelica Cabande, executive director of the South of Market Community Action Network, said that while the affordable housing offered may be attractive, she is concerned about the impact that all of the development would have on residents. She also believes that all affordable housing should be built south of the market.

“Taylor and Eddy are not located in the south of the market, and the majority of the impact of this project is in the south of the market,” she said. “We are concerned about the displacement and gentrification that is already happening and will happen more. “

JK Dineen is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Email: Twitter: @sfjkdineen

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