November 14, 2016 Corey Smith

City Releases Request for Qualifications for Balboa Reservoir

On Thursday, the City of San Francisco issued a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for the Balboa Reservoir site (pictured above), just west of San Francisco City College (CCSF). This comes after a year-plus of meetings held by the Balboa Reservoir Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC), a group created in late 2015 by District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee. The CAC’s purpose is to conduct the community meetings and receive the public’s input regarding future development at the site. The RFQ is a milestone for the CAC and involved their working with City staff and a diverse set of stakeholders, including SFHAC, to produce development parameters.

The 17-acre lot is adjacent to CCSF, in close walking distance to the Balboa BART station and currently serves as a parking lot for its students. The site is owned by the SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and was identified as an attractive development site for mixed-income housing.

A RFQ includes a set of guidelines that serve as a high-level blueprint for a future development team. Interested architects and developers will form teams over the next few months to present proposals to the City. Typically, a handful of proposals are submitted for the RFQ and the short-listed teams are scheduled to be announced on February 17th, 2017. Once the finalists are chosen, the public would have the opportunity to review and give its views on the different proposals before the project is finally awarded. There is no timetable on that decision, however. Here’s the full schedule:

Balboa Reservoir RFQ

Some of the notable project parameters include a total of 50% below-market-rate housing (18% at below 55% AMI, 15% at below 120% AMI, 17% at below 150% AMI).  The RFQ calls for height limits that range between 25 and 65 feet, as well as four acres of open space. Still to be decided are the levels of car parking required for CCSF students. The SFHAC would prefer the minimum levels of parking at this important transit node. A second important issue still to be resolved is the land cost.  While the SFPUC is expected is issue a long-term ground lease for the development, it is apparently legally required to receive a fair market return for it. This might limit the amount of subsidized housing it could provide.

The SFHAC staff will continue to be heavily involved in the public process. It is a large, publicly owned site that is ideally suited for high density urban infill. The SFHAC looks forward to continued engagement with the City and community partners to help deliver the best housing development possible.

If you have questions about the site or process, please reach out to Phillip Wong ( before December 7th. All questions and answers will be posted online. Interested parties have until January 18th, 2017 to submit a proposal.


Corey Smith

Corey Smith is HAC's Executive Director and can be reached at

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