August 11, 2016 Corey Smith

Latest Update on the Balboa Reservoir Housing Plans

Monthly meetings at City College, countless neighborhood discussions, and one fascinating profile later, the parameters are nearly finished and the City is ready to move to the next step for the 17-acre Balboa Reservoir site. You can read the full 27-page parameters here that summarizes seven major categories: Housing, Transportation, Public Realm, Urban Design and Neighborhood Character, Relationship to City College, Sustainability and Additional Public Benefits.

The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition has been active in this process (read past blog posts here) and this is an exciting time as the process finally moves to the next stage. While none of the parameters are set in stone, they represent a consensus from the community and Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), a volunteer group that took input from neighborhood residents and others. Some of the notable parameters include a target of 50 percent on-site affordable housing with the request to seek public funding, 65-feet height limits, four acres of open space including one single two-acre park, a goal of 0.5 parking spots per housing unit, a positive working relationship with the current tenants (CCSF) and an improved pedestrian experience between the future housing and Balboa Park Station.

The City has laid out next steps and timelines:

  1. Issue Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in 2 to 3 months

Focus on experience and ability to successfully complete project
RFQ document includes background, process, and parameters
Evaluation panel scores and responses
Top-scoring respondents invited to participate in RFP

2. Issue Requests for Proposals (RFP) in 2 to 3 months

Focus on quality of proposal, adherence to parameters
All proposals presented to community for feedback
Evaluation panel’s scoring criteria include:
     – Adherence to development parameters
     – Community feedback
     – Feasibility
Top-scoring proposal is selected to negotiate with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

3. Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) period to follow

Between developer and SFPUC
Requires SFPUC Commission approval

In layman’s terms, the City will publish the 27-page parameters then receive proposals from developers. The top proposals will move to the next stage and work with the community on specific details before a final project sponsor is chosen.

Here is a visual timeline from the City:

balboa timeline

The SFHAC is committed to a well-designed project that helps build a desirable neighborhood that includes lots of housing, excellent open space, vibrant ground-floor uses and easy transit access. We will continue to work with the City and community for the duration of this project.


Corey Smith

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

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