Mayor London Breed Announces Plan for New Affordable Housing Development on City-Owned Property
Mayor Breed introduced an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement and resolution to allow The Kelsey and Mercy Housing to build a 102-unit 100% affordable housing development on City-owned property
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced plans to lease City-owned property to The Kelsey and Mercy Housing for the development of 102 affordable housing units in the Civic Center neighborhood, across the street from City Hall. Mayor Breed introduced a resolution and an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) at the Board of Supervisors on October 29th to allow for the lease of the land at 240 Van Ness Ave. and 155 and 165 Grove St. Supervisor Matt Haney co-sponsored the resolution.
“We need more housing in San Francisco for people to rent below market rate and, once built, this development will provide 102 new affordable homes right here in the heart of the city just across from City Hall,” said Mayor Breed. “Not only will this building add much-needed affordable housing to the neighborhood, but it will also help us meet our climate goals, with bicycle parking, easy access to transit, and green space.”
The housing development proposal has been underway since 2017, as part of the C40 Cities “Reinventing Cities” competition. The competition sought proposals from international teams to transform challenging and unused municipal parcels in cities around the world to meet city priorities and the latest in sustainable building design. In San Francisco, the Department of Real Estate, Department of Environment, and the Planning Department led the search for a building proposal for the Grove St. and Van Ness Ave. properties.
The proposed housing development would have 102 rental units that would be 100% affordable up to 120% of Area Median Income (AMI). 25% of the units will be reserved for clients of the Golden Gate Regional Center, a service provider for people with developmental disabilities.
The building will be designed to meet the City’s energy and sustainability targets, with wood and low-carbon concrete construction materials. The building will be fully electric and energy efficient, and will be able to offset 100% of its consumption with renewable electricity production systems. There will be extensive green areas and vertical planting to promote on-site biodiversity and natural cooling.
The City received three proposals for the use of the property in the Civic Center, and each proposal was reviewed by a team of ten international experts. The proposals were judged on three main criteria: carbon impact, resilience and sustainability, and architecture and social impact. The panel of experts selected the proposal put forth by The Kelsey and Common CoLiving, supported by Mercy Housing and the architectural firm WRNS.
The Kelsey creates mixed ability, mixed income housing communities where people of all abilities and backgrounds live, play, and serve together. They work to unlock new capital for disability and affordable housing; leverage existing public, private, and nonprofit partners; and create housing models that are sustainable and replicable.
“The Kelsey has been engaging San Francisco residents for the last two years on the very real need for housing for adults with developmental and other disabilities,” said Micaela Connery, Founder and CEO of The Kelsey. “Less than 12% of that population owns or rents their own home. We’re excited about the opportunity at Civic Center to put a housing project together fulfilling that need while achieving goals in affordability, accessibility, and inclusivity.”
“We are really excited to be working with The Kelsey and the City on such a groundbreaking project,” said Doug Shoemaker, CEO of Mercy Housing. “The vision for this community is unlike any other effort that we have seen to create real inclusion—income as well as ability—in new housing.”
If the Board of Supervisors approves the leasing of the City-owned property, the housing development will likely begin construction in late 2022, will full occupancy expected in early 2025. The C40 local competition required respondents to propose projects that did not require city funds. The Kelsey and Mercy Housing pledged to fund the project through philanthropic sponsors, and possibly state and federal funds.
“We are so grateful to the City and County of San Francisco, The Kelsey, Mercy Housing and all the other partners for the opportunity to see this project demonstrate a replicable and scalable model, which allow individuals with intellectual and development disabilities the opportunity to have affordable and accessible housing completely integrated into the mainstream life of a larger development,” said Eric Zigman, Executive Director of Golden Gate Regional Center. “Golden Gate Regional Center serves over 10,000 individuals with disabilities, and our deepest desire is that The Kelsey and Mercy Housing project ‘light the way’ to a future where those with disabilities have a viable option to remain in their home communities and demonstrate their contributions and talents here in San Francisco.”
“The C40 Reinventing Cities competition recognizes global projects that feature low-carbon solutions and makes it possible for cities to turn these bold ideas into reality,” said David Miller, Director of International Diplomacy and Regional Director of North America at C40 Cities. “Through the integration of sustainable building materials, green mobility solutions, urban agriculture, inclusive green jobs, and an innovative co-housing model, San Francisco’s Kelsey Civic Center project is an amazing zero-carbon development that simultaneously addresses the impacts of climate change and two defining local issues: housing availability and social inclusion.”