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Dec. 2, 2011

SF Redevelopment Takes Step Toward First U.S. LEED-ND Gold

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

San Francisco—The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded conditional approval of LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) gold for the plan to redevelop Sunnydale, a public housing property. When complete, the redeveloped Sunnydale will offer 1,700 units of mixed-income housing—a mix of public housing replacement, tax credit affordable rental and affordable and market-rate units.

Sunnydale is part of the HOPE SF Initiative to revitalize distressed public housing communities, San Francisco’s largest anti-poverty collaboration in decades. Under the redevelopment plan, the 1941-vintage property will receive new streets, utilities, public transit, neighborhood parks, educational and recreational facilities and neighborhood-serving retail.

For years Sunnydale has been one of San Francisco’s most distressed public housing neighborhoods. Less than a third of Sunnydale’s residents have graduated from high school and the median household income among the 1,700 residents is $12,750 a year. Without a major grocery store, basic services or many jobs in the area, the neighborhood is a target for crime and gang violence.

Mercy Housing California and the Related Cos., the property’s redevelopers, created the master plan for Sunnydale’s 50 acres with input from residents and neighbors. As part of their outreach to the community, Mercy Housing and Related California conducted interviews of every community-based organization in the neighborhood; door-to-door interviews of each of the 785 households at Sunnydale; and 16 planning meetings in four languages—English, Cantonese, Samoan and Spanish—which were attended by nearly 600 residents.

The redevelopment plan incorporates a number of sustainability features proposed by community members, including accessible neighborhood parks and amenities, green streets and edible landscaping. Other participants in the redevelopment include the city and county of San Francisco, the San Francisco Housing Authority, and numerous community-based organizations.

LEED-ND, a collaboration among the USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, integrates the principles of smart growth, New Urbanism and environmental considerations into a national certification system for neighborhood design, the first of its kind. Sunnydale is the first United States project to receive conditional approval at the LEED-ND gold level, which is the first of three major steps on the way to certification as a LEED-ND project, and it is one of the first three projects submitted for LEED-ND in the world.

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