Concept drawing of Ocean Avenue Housing Project, bus loop and public plaza. Photo courtesy of SFMTA.

SAN FRANCISCO—Mayor Edwin Lee broke ground for a new housing project called 1100 Ocean Avenue Apartments on September 18.

Lee was joined by District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (BHNC), Mercy Housing California and other city and community leaders for the groundbreaking of the $34 million project, according to the press release.

The new five-story apartment complex will include “71 affordable units for low income families and transitional-age youth who are young adults that have recently aged out of the foster care system,” stated the press release.

In addition to the housing construction, there will be a new public open space plaza that will allow community events like fairs, farmer’s markets and other activities to take place.

“Together with the community, we are realizing a long-held neighborhood vision for a transformed Ocean Avenue with more permanent affordable housing and open space for our residents and we are providing hope for our young people,” Lee said.

The 210-by-65-foot public plaza is being developed by the San Francisco Municipal Transpiration Agency (SFMTA) and designed by the Department of Public Works.  It will include the following features, according to the release: landscaping, seating and pedestrian-level lighting. Groundbreaking for the plaza is expected to begin in 18 months.

“The SFMTA is proud to have been able to provide the land as well as key planning leadership for this important project,” said Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for SFMTA. “Affordable housing and transportation are linked and critical elements of a strong San Francisco, and we’re happy to see them coming together so elegantly through this collaborative development,” he added.

More than one-third of the 71 units will be set aside for families earning up to 50 percent of the current local area median of $50,600 for a family of four.

The amenities for the new complex include the following:

  • A combination of studios, one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom apartments
  • Four-neighborhood serving retail spaces on the ground floor
  • Dedicated parking spaces for City Carshare and secured bicycle storage
  • Offices for property management and resident social services
  • A common room for after-school programs and other activities
  • A multi-purpose room for youth residents
  • Laundry facilities
  • A small exercise room for residents
  • An outdoor play area for children living in the building

“True to our mission,BernalHeightsNeighborhoodCenteris proud to have worked with the community and the city to transform this underutilized site into housing that will help to preserve and enhance the economic diversity of this neighborhood,” said Rachel Ebora, executive director of BHNC.

The 1100 Ocean Avenue Apartments project and the Muni bus loop development project are both key parts of the Balboa Park Station Area Plan, which is a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2008 that consisted of more than 10 years of neighborhood-driven planning.

“I am very excited to see the vision of the Balboa Station Area Plan realized today with this new bus loop and affordable housing development,” Yee said. “I believe in the importance of our commercial corridors and the city investing in them for the benefit of the community,” he added.

The project, which cost $34 million, was funded by tax credit equity investments. Funding for construction costs came from Bank of America as well as loans from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Housing Finance Agency, Federal Home Loan Bank ofSan   Franciscoand a grant from Enterprise Community Partners.

The building has been designed to meet green building standards and has a projected opening date of January 2015.

By Melissa Simon