Ten Story “Affordable Market Rate” Project Proposed in SF Mission

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A parking lot on 15th Street and South Van Ness Avenue could still grow into a 10-story building with 231 units – all marketed by its Kansas-based developers as “affordable by design.”

“The proposed group housing project is a modern take on the affordable ORS hotels that were populated by the working class, transient workers and immigrants to San Francisco over the past century,” the plans say.

The plans were submitted by Elsey Partners, LLC, a Kansas-based developer. The project would include 166 small studios, including 12 below the market rate (the state density bonus is mentioned to bypass the city’s affordability requirements).

In addition, the project would include 65 “sleeping spaces” whose occupants would use kitchens, bathrooms and shared common areas. The plans describe a large majority of units as “at market affordable”.

Rent “market rate” for a studio is approximately $ 2,569 per month – it is not known whether these apartments would be affordable for the “working class”, let alone “transient workers”.

“IIf they have Section 8 vouchers, they could rent one of those units, ”said Chris Elsey, director of Elsey Partners, LLC – although he acknowledged that vouchers are extremely difficult to come by. San Francisco.

Questions about the affordability of the project will likely arouse opposition from neighborhood activists. They’ve already put the terms on the table for Elsey’s almost identical project across the street at 1500 15th St. The developers have been working to get this project approved since November 2016.

In return for not delaying this project, representatives of the nonprofit coalition United to Save the Mission demanded that the rent for the project be set at Section 8 rates – currently, $ 2,215 per month for a studio – ” for life “.

Carlos Bocanegra, member of the United to Save the Mission’s community development committee, said that “the framework would have enabled the project to equitably benefit the mission community by providing Section 8 housing to its beneficiaries, veterans and other working class families with a similar grant. , while ensuring the profitability of the development team.

But Elsey was not in favor of such a long-term commitment, he said – despite being prepared to set his rents at those lower rates for three years. The parties did not come to an agreement.

“I’m not ready to commit to something forever,” Elsey said, noting that the market can and will likely change decades into the future. “Who commits to a deal forever?” Anybody. This is basic Business 101.

In light of this, Bocanegra said the coalition had “no choice but to oppose” 1500 15th St., while hoping the two parties could work together in the future. Nevertheless, the newly proposed project at 401 South Van Ness Ave. might encounter similar resistance.

In addition to housing, the plans include 2,978 square feet of retail space and 2,185 square feet of office space. Estimated cost of the project: $ 47.5 million.

Like many developers who have pitched plans in San Francisco and his Mission neighborhood, Elsey lamented the city’s years of development process.

“I hope it’s not yet three years before I get closer,” Elsey said. “Hopenly, someone can figure out how to build something faster.

Editor’s Note: Carlos Bocanegra, a spokesperson for United to Save the Mission, wanted a change in our history. Instead of asking for one or telling the reporter about his concerns, he immediately attacked Julian Mark’s integrity – in the comments on this page, in the social media posts and in emails to Julian, myself and Joe Eskenazi, our editor.

It took me several emails and a phone call to get past the vitriol and understand what Mr. Bocanegra thought was left out.

The article reported on United to Save the Mission’s proposal that the developer of the project would set rent at Section 8 rates – currently, $ 2,215 per month for a studio – “in perpetuity.” The deal, according to Bocanegra’s statement, “would also have ensured that the developer would maintain the healthy level of profitability it set for itself (the DSCR) by allowing the project to potentially lease vacant units at full market price if this was necessary in order to remain at the prescribed level of financial performance.

We left out the United to Save the Mission deal to also allow the developer to “maintain healthy profitability”, deciding it was less important since the developer said the deal failed because they wouldn’t sign anything. “for life”.

Bocanegra considered Mission United’s willingness to allow a profit to be essential. It didn’t seem like that to us, but readers have the full statement below or at this link and can decide for themselves.

We hope that in the future the issues can be discussed in a more civil manner. Name calling and threats do little for speech.

Lydia Chávez, editor-in-chief


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