SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, October 21, Mayor London Breed announced the new site for affordable housing in District 11’s Balboa Park Upper Yard (BPUY). The developments are estimated to be completed by 2023.

According to a press release from the Office of the Mayor, the two new “100% affordable housing developments” will include a 3,994-square-foot licensed early childhood education center, a family wellness community resource center operated by MHDC’s resident services department, and a commercial space operated by PODER, a grassroots environmental justice organization, for bicycle maintenance. These additions follow recommendations made by the Economic Recovery Task Force, a program that seeks to strengthen San Francisco’s economy through the pandemic and come out on the other end stronger. 

The site will include a nine-story building designed by the agency Mithun, with studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. In the project, 39 apartments are set aside for HOPE SF residents choosing to relocate from the Sunnydale-Velasco public housing site. The homes will be available to applicants with incomes that range from 40 percent, 50 percent, 74 percent and 104 percent Area Median Income or below. Mithun reports, “Balboa Park Upper Yard will provide a significant amount of new housing and enhance the rich identity of this neighborhood with a landmark at a busy transit gateway. The development incorporates safe, stable affordable housing for low income families earning up to 60% AMI, with a goal of 40% existing neighborhood residents.”  

The BPUY plan also seeks to redesign the southern portion of Balboa Park Bay Area Rapid Transit Station Plaza with the goal of improving pedestrian and bicycle access. Bay Area Transit and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are working together to accomplish the goal.   

On September 23, 2016, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development chose Related California and Mission Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) to create the family housing on BPUY. The mayor reported they wanted “to meet community goals of increased transit ridership, new affordable housing and improved services to residents, consistent with The Balboa Park Station Area Plan.”  The groups are working in tandem with Mayor Breed, BART, and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí.

According to Mayor Breed, BPUY will be able to start construction soon because it is the first affordable housing development in San Francisco to receive planning department approval to utilize Senate Bill 35. Mission Housing describes their goals for BPUY as: “build a complex that is highly accessible and welcoming, while improving the environmental and safety conditions in this part of the District 11 neighborhood.”

The BPUY site is a former surface parking lot of SFMTA. It has been used as a Vehicular Triage Center, the first of its kind in the city. It was a pilot program run by The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing that was created to provide a secure location and services for people who are living in their vehicles.