Affordable Housing Slated for San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

San Francisco—AMCAL Multi-Housing and Lennar Urban are partnering to develop affordable apartments in southeast San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard-Candlestick Point, the largest public-private redevelopment endeavor in the city’s history.  AMCAL’s Block 49 development will be affordable for households earning no more than 50 percent of San Francisco median income.

Scheduled to open in 2015, the development will feature 60 affordable apartments, a ground-level garage for 45 cars, 50 bicycle spaces, a community room with kitchen and computer lab, barbecue areas, children’s playground, communal decks with views of San Francisco Bay, and a centralized laundry room.

“The need for affordable housing is critical throughout California, but of all places in California, the difference between affordable and market-rate rents is greatest in San Francisco,” AMCAL Multi-Housing CEO Percy Vaz tells MHN. “We’re very excited to be undertaking our first development in San Francisco, and also our first development jointly with Lennar.”

The development is a four-percent tax credit project, Vaz adds.  “That is not as desirable as a nine-percent, so you need more sources of financing.  Some of that financing need was met by Lennar in providing the land.  We also teamed up with a local non-profit community developer, Young Community Developers, which enabled us to understand and respond to the local community’s needs and desires.”

The overall Hunters Point Shipyard-Candlestick Point master plan includes a green tech hub, office, retail space and entertainment venues to provide local job opportunities for residents and readily-accessed entertainment.  Also on the drawing boards are plans to create 326 acres of parks and open space.  Block 49 is situated near the Third St. light-rail line and Muni bus line, and offers convenient access to the India Ave. bicycle route, local schools and parks and the Southeast Health Center.

“We think it is important to deliver the first affordable homes at the same time that we are building market-rate homes,” says Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar Urban, San Francisco.  “In this difficult funding environment, we are very pleased to have worked out a solution with AMCAL to convert a market-rate block into an affordable housing development.  AMCAL’s 35 years of development, finance and construction management expertise will allow us to deliver quality affordable homes a few years earlier than expected.”

Designed by David Baker Architects and Interstice Architects, Block 49 is a five-level podium apartment community.  It features an assortment of architectural tools, including massing, textures, courtyards, gardens and signature elements.

“San Francisco’s hard-working residents deserve well-designed affordable housing near jobs and transit, and our team is able to collaborate with the city to make it a reality,” Vaz says.  “This will enable residents who want to live in this part of town to afford rents they otherwise would not be able to afford.”

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