Developer Nick Podell recently announced in a press release that he plans to dedicate one-third of his site at 2000-2070 Bryant Street to the City to build affordable housing. The project has been in the works for years and was originally intended to be a market-rate building that included 47 below-market-rate (BMR) units on site, a plan SFHAC supported. But after months of community opposition from some residents asking for more affordable housing, the developer responded by splitting up his project and giving a large portion of the site to the Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development (MOHCD) via a land dedication.
How does a land dedication work?
Under the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, developers can satisfy their inclusionary housing obligation via a land dedication, where they donate a portion of their land to MOHCD. The land Podell donated is worth approximately $26 million. By getting the land for free, MOHCD saves a large sum of money and could issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) to non-profit builders to develop a 100 percent affordable project at the site. Oyster Development recently used the land dedication option for their project at 45 Bartlett Street. The land they gave to the City at 1296 Shotwell Street is now planned for 96 senior housing units, being developed by Chinatown Community Development Center and Mission Economic Development Agency.
How does the new project differ from the original?
The new proposal now consists of 186 market-rate units and up to 132 permanently affordable units, or 41 percent of the total unit count. Three rent-controlled units would be replaced on site. Here’s the breakdown between the original plan and the revised one.
Total Units: 274 318
Market-Rate: 227 186
Affordable: 47 132
Percent Affordable: 17% 41%
The original project would have included 47 on-site rental BMRs priced at 55 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The land dedicated to MOHCD would include up to 132 units, priced between 40 and 60 percent AMI, with 20 percent of the units reserved for formerly homeless residents. Instead of being funded by a private developer, the affordable housing project would get financing from MOHCD, tax credits and other state funding. Essentially, the site is split into one 100 percent market-rate building and an adjacent 100 percent affordable building. More project facts can be found here.
Because land is so expensive in San Francisco, it is a huge benefit to MOHCD to gain control of a site and help achieve the Mission’s housing affordability goals. However, some locals expressed reservations about the plan. “I don’t want to pooh-pooh progress, but that is still a lot of market-rate housing for the Mission,” said Scott Weaver in the SF Chronicle. And Spike Kahn openly opposed it in Mission Local, “It’s better to not build any market-rate in the Mission if you’re not going to build 100 percent affordable… No housing is better than gentrified housing.”
However, recent reports from SF Chief Economist Ted Egan and the CA Legislative Analyst’s Office demonstrate that new market-rate housing actually helps stabilize rents of existing housing and reduces displacement of residents.
If approved, the Bryant land dedication would become the fifth 100 percent affordable housing development in the pipeline for the Mission, totalling 571 units. which should come online in the next few years. While this is not enough by itself to meet the neighborhood’s affordable housing needs, it’s certainly another step in the right direction. These projects, combined with the $50 million from the recent Housing Bond and other City resources, bring the Mission closer to achieving the goals of the Mission Action Plan 2020.
Photo: Mission Local