1950 Mission to Bring Affordable Housing to San Fran

Mission Housing Development and BRIDGE Housing plan to develop the first fully affordable housing community in the Mission District in a decade.
1950 Mission currently houses the City of San Francisco's navigation center, which provides temporary shelter and services to the homeless.

1950 Mission currently houses the City of San Francisco’s navigation center, which provides temporary shelter and services to the homeless.

San Francisco—Two developers are attempting to bring much-needed affordable housing to San Francisco’s Mission District with its plans to transform 1950 Mission Street. Mission Housing Development Corp. and BRIDGE Housing have submitted a conditional use authorization application for the project to the San Francisco Planning Commission. The application does not require any zoning changes and offers design concepts that have taken community feedback into account.

1950 Mission, the long-abandoned site of the former Phoenix Continuation High School between 15th and 16th streets, currently offers homeless adults temporary shelter. The City of San Francisco purchased the site, located near the 16th St. Mission BART Plaza, from the San Francisco Unified School District in 2015, and now operates a “navigation center” that offers short-term housing and access services that help the homeless transition to permanent housing. The navigation center is funded through a $3 million grant from the Interfaith Council, according to Mission Housing.

The co-developers, who are leasing the city-owned land, plan to transform the site into a mixed-use affordable housing community with 157 apartments, 20 percent of which will be reserved for formerly homeless families. The rest of the units will be for families making between 45 and 60 percent of the area median income.

Planned amenities include a courtyard, community room with kitchen, rooftop garden, media lab, studios for artists and an active mural walkway. Mission Housing will also provide resident services by coordinating with onsite partners like PODER, Mission Neighborhood Centers’ Head Start, Early-Head Start, Lutheran Social Services and Mission Girls mentorship services. David Baker Architects and associate architect Cervantes Design Associates will design 1950 Mission. Small retail spaces are also proposed for the project, including a proposed gallery to showcase local artwork.

A rendering of the transformed 1950 Mission community.

A rendering of the transformed 1950 Mission community. (Credit: David Baker Architects)

According to Mission Housing’s website, the development is projected to cost about $80 million and has several sources of financing, including San Francisco housing bond dollars and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

City officials picked BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing to develop the project, which will be the Mission’s District largest affordable housing community in a decade, according to the San Francisco Business Times. The last similar project built in Mission was Valencia Gardens in 2006.

The developers hope the building will be approved in the next few months, after which they will refine design and finalize financing, Cynthia Parker, president & CEO of BRIDGE Housing, told MHN. She added that construction is expected to begin by the end of 2017. The co-developers will also work with the city to transition the navigation center to another location, the Business Times reported.

Engaging the community and getting their feedback on design was important to the development team, according to Sam Moss, executive director of Mission Housing. “This is a uniquely conceived project in that it addresses displacement of Mission District families, neighborhood artists and people who are experiencing homelessness,” he said.

“We believe that community feedback is essential to place-based development that responds to the needs of a neighborhood,” Parker said, adding that the development team is incorporating the community’s feedback into the design and programming of the building.

Cervantes Design Associates and PODER are leading the outreach and engagement for the project. They have already held community meetings and formed a 1950 Mission Community Advisory Community. Other groups involved include artist advisors, Mission District families, nonprofits, service providers, union members and business owners.

The team said they’ll be involving the community throughout the process, and additional meetings will be held to provide design input as the development moves forward.

1950 Mission is one of several affordable housing projects planned for Mission, which has faced tension over the housing. A measure proposing an 18-month moratorium on market-rate housing development in Mission was voted on by city residents last November, but was ultimately defeated.

“The demand for affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area is unprecedented,” Parker told MHN. “We recently received 10,000 applications for 115 new affordable apartments in San Leandro. The shortage has far-ranging impacts—on the economy, traffic, quality of life, family stability—and many in the public and private sectors are making it a priority to bring more housing online as quickly as possible.”

Images via Google Street View and David Baker Architects