Mike McCone and Patrick McCarthy from Oyster Development, along with Kwan Hemi’s Director of Design, Faraaz Mirza and his colleague Dan Moberly, guided SF Housing Action Coalition members through the Vida SF units, balconies, and roof deck, giving us a good sense of the future tenant’s experience living here.
The eight-story Vida building stands out in the heart of the Mission with its vibrant orange and yellow undulating façade. The building balances its height through setbacks to address the pedestrian scale of the street level, while acknowledging the adjacent building heights. This was necessary, as the site has a height limit of 85 feet, whereas the adjacent sites are topped at 65 feet. Vida’s heights along Mission Street climb to the 6th floor, then step back for the remaining two levels, allowing for spacious outdoor balconies with vast views of San Francisco’s landscapes. The site, which is within the Eastern Neighborhood Area Plan zoning, offers 114 condos (98 already sold), consisting of juniors, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom homes. The ground level has three retail spaces, all still seeking tenants.
The current Vida site emerged from a prolonged development history, which began with Gus Murad, a local merchant and developer, who was the previous owner of both the Giant Value store and the adjacent vacant New Mission Theater. Gus had his own plans to redevelop the site to provide housing and retail. Affordable housing was even explored. Unfortunately his plans coincided with the Great Recession and the difficulties of financing affordable housing became financially infeasible. In 2011, Oyster Development purchased the two properties from Gus, and found ways to resolve the loan defaults on the properties. With this acquisition, Oyster Development took on the challenge to build a project in the Mission District that would provide housing, retail, and a renovated historic landmark. The acquired sites were separated through a lot line adjustment that resulted in a partnership to build a local franchise of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the long-time Austin, TX favorite. The restoration and repurposing of the New Mission Theater is expected to be complete in 2015 and will likely bring a lot of people into this area. In an very unusual move, Oyster Development opted for a land dedication to meet its Inclusionary Housing requirement. They purchased a site for the Mayor’s Office of Housing at Shotwell and Cesar Chavez Streets that can now be used for up to 46 below-market-rate homes, a significantly higher percentages than could be provided on-site by the project.
Thank you to the SF Housing Action Coalition for organizing such an insightful tour!
About the Author
Esperanza Barrera is an Assistant Project Manager at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and former architect.