Mayor London Breed Announces Groundbreaking of Critical Infrastructure at Potrero HOPE SF Affordable Housing
New streets and utilities will enable nearly 1,700 new or rebuilt homes on Potrero Hill
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City has made major progress on the effort to revitalize Potrero HOPE SF, a community development effort to create and rebuild nearly 1,700 units of housing in San Francisco. This week, construction began on the first extensive infrastructure improvements as part of Phase 2 of the overall Potrero HOPE SF development.
Phase 2 of the Potrero HOPE SF development is comprised of 3.96 acres of land at the southern end of the Potrero Terrace and Annex Public Housing site. Construction of infrastructure improvements at the site is critical to supporting development of two new residential buildings, meeting the goals of the Potrero Hill Master Plan and transforming Potrero into a vibrant, unified, mixed-income development. BRIDGE Housing is the project sponsor for Potrero HOPE SF.
“We are making good progress on the housing at Potrero HOPE SF, and this phase of construction brings us one step closer to fulfilling our promise to the residents and transforming this community so that all of them have the homes and the community they deserve,” said Mayor Breed. “Creating high-quality, affordable housing for long-time San Francisco residents is crucial for making sure that our recovery from COVID-19 is equitable. Moving forward with this project also supports our city’s economic recovery by providing good construction jobs in our city, and I want to thank everyone who has continued to work throughout the pandemic to get us to this point.”
The Potrero Hill Master Plan, as approved by the City and the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) in 2017, is a comprehensive effort to rebuild 619 units of distressed public housing and create an additional 155 affordable homes and approximately 800 market rate units with a range of affordability, as well as community facilities, retail, open space, and neighborhood services. Once the final of five construction and development phases is completed in 2035, nearly 1,700 units will be built at the Potrero HOPE SF site.
“We are continuing to work towards keeping our promises to our public housing residents and our communities in District 10. Brand new homes for people who live here and have been a part of these neighborhoods since day one,” said President Shamann Walton. “We will not stop focusing on eliminating dilapidated housing and ensuring that our residents have quality housing so their families can thrive.”
San Francisco’s HOPE SF initiative is the nation’s first large-scale community development and reparations initiative aimed at creating vibrant, inclusive, mixed-income communities without mass displacement of the original residents. Two of the four sites, Alice Griffith and Hunters View, have largely completed their public housing transformation, with Hunters View expected to start its final major infrastructure phase later this year. The other two sites, Potrero Hill and Sunnydale, are in the midst of a multi-year, multi-phase transformation process. The four primary goals of HOPE SF are to build racially and economically inclusive neighborhoods, recognize the power of residents to lead their communities, increase economic and educational advancement, and create healthy communities. All HOPE SF projects are guided by these goals that place residents first and require persistent community engagement, empowerment, and organization.
“I’m very pleased with my situation and how it’s turned out, but just looking out my window, I can see that there’s work left to be done,” said Micah Conway, a Potrero resident at 1101 Connecticut. “We residents have a lot of hope and resiliency, and we’re looking forward to the day when it will all be completed.”
“This milestone signals that even in the face of an unprecedented pandemic and a fragile recovery, our partnership with legacy families of color in Potrero Hill will not be moved from its unwavering commitment to repair the systematic harm done, and to ensure just reinvestment in the neighborhoods and families so long left out of our City’s promises,” said Theo Miller, HOPE SF Director.
The City’s investment of $29 million in the Phase 2 infrastructure improvements will benefit future residents of the site by increasing vital connections to the rest of the City, but also residents of the surrounding neighborhood. The scope of the infrastructure work, which is bounded by 25th, 26th, Wisconsin and Connecticut Streets and will be completed in the spring of 2022, includes excavating existing utilities and replacing them with new water, combined sewer, electric, cable and phone utilities. New fiberoptic utilities are also being installed as part of the City’s Fiber to Housing initiative that will bring free internet access to future Potrero affordable housing residents in an effort to bridge the digital divide. A number of major street improvements are part of the infrastructure plan as well, including an Arkansas Street extension, regrading slopes, and preparing for a realigned street grid. There will also be numerous other streetscape upgrades that improve safety and quality of experience.
The effort to secure the procedural approvals required for the Phase 2 infrastructure to start construction was led by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, in collaboration with the SFHA, San Francisco Public Works, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the San Francisco Fire Department, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. This multi-agency partnership is crucial for delivering high-quality affordable housing in the HOPE SF program developments and speeding up the relocation of residents into new replacement housing that has been desperately needed for decades.
“Infrastructure is the critical component to realize affordable housing and community development goals of this project,” said MOHCD Director Eric Shaw. “The streamlined process to get the necessary city review and approvals will serve as a model as MOHCD continues to work to accelerate the production of affordable housing in San Francisco.”
The first part of the Potrero Hill Master Plan—Phase I infrastructure and the construction of a 72-unit affordable housing development known as 1101 Connecticut—was completed in June 2019. Approximately 77 Potrero Terrace and Annex households living in eight buildings within the Phase 2 footprint were relocated to 53 new units at 1101 Connecticut and 24 renovated units on the existing Potrero public housing site. The abatement and demolition of the existing eight buildings within the footprint of Phase 2 was completed in June 2020 and the area is currently vacant.
“This next phase will provide 157 housing units, including 118 one-for-one replacement units for our residents,” said Tonia Lediju, Acting Executive Director, San Francisco Housing Authority. “This fulfills the HOPE SF promise that residents will not be displaced, thereby preserving our Potrero community. The Phase II development creates an opportunity for public housing residents to obtain employment in the construction trade through BRIDGE.”
BRIDGE Housing began construction on the infrastructure improvements this week, setting the stage for housing construction to start on the two buildings in Phase 2. Construction of the next affordable housing development, a 157-unit building known as Block B, is contingent on the project receiving critical tax-exempt bond funding from the State of California. The market rate development, known as Block A, will include between 150 and 200 units and could start construction as early as next year.
“While infrastructure sometimes goes unheralded, these improvements are essential,” said Marie Debor, Vice President and Director of Potrero for BRIDGE. “We’re proud to have worked with the community and partners to reach this major milestone, and we look forward to delivering a range of housing, amenities and open space that will lift up the entire neighborhood.”