April 6, 2015 Housing Action Coalition

Inside 1400 Mission – A Successful Off-Site Affordable Housing Development

The SF Housing Action Coalition recently hosted a tour of 1400 Mission Street, one of San Francisco’s few housing developments built through the off-site inclusionary option. On the afternoon of our tour, Brad Dickason of Maracor Development, Leo Shapland of Tishman Speyer, and Katie Lamont of Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) were on-site to share the story of this unique building.

The building’s top-to-bottom curtain wall and sleek modern design would be more indicative of a high-rise condo development than the Perry Architects-designed, 100% affordable housing project it truly is. For the better part of a decade, 1400 Mission Street ran the gauntlet of San Francisco’s pre-development process, and is now finally emerging as one of the City’s first specifically moderate-income residential developments.

The project began in 2008, when Bank of America donated a parking lot to TNDC. As with many projects begun during the Great Recession, the terrible financial conditions precluded TNDC from raising enough capital to develop a new, downtown affordable housing project on their own. Fast forward to 2012, when Tishman Speyer developed The Lumina, a new luxury condo project in the SoMa district. Instead of building below-market-rate (BMR) units on-site, or paying an in-lieu fee, Tishman opted to pursue an off-site inclusionary option, a relatively rare and risky decision. The result is a 190-unit moderate-income project located close to transit, that combines both below-market-rate (BMR) condos and rental units. Perhaps most importantly, the project is privately financed and requires no public funding.

1400 Mission will provide homes for a badly underserved income group. The building’s 167 BMR condos will range in price from $200-$300K, and will be sold to individuals and families making up to 90% of the area median income (AMI). The homeowner association dues for the condo units will average approximately $400/month. The remaining 23 units will be rented to individuals and families making up to 150% AMI. During our tour I was struck mainly by the building’s overall spaciousness. Anyone working with affordable housing can tell you that units located in dense, urban areas have never been large and have become smaller and smaller as we recover from the last recession. Austerity is the key of late, but 1400 Mission reflects the best of both worlds. Smart, efficient and sustainable designs combine with wide-open common spaces to create a comfortable environment anyone would love to call home.

The Mayor’s Housing Task Force has engaged numerous stakeholders, including SFHAC, to analyze proposed changes to the off-site ordinance and suggest potential reforms aimed at increasing production of off-site housing. SFHAC’s suggestions for reform can be found here.

About the Author
Sam Moss is the Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation.

Image credit: Perry Architects, Inc.

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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