Saturday, May 16th, the SF Housing Action Coalition led a tour by bike through two of San Francisco’s most notable in-progress housing developments, Hunters View and The Shipyard. Thanks to everyone who came out, asked questions and made it such a special morning and to the tour guides who spent their Saturday morning with us.
First stop: Hunter’s View
After our two mile ride south from Dogpatch, we met with Catherine Etzel of The John Stewart Company and Dan Solomon of Mithun Solomon, project architect and 2006 SFHAC Housing Hero award winner. The tour was kicked off at the central community room for the project, which offered a breathtaking view of the downtown San Francisco skyline.
Catherine discussed the ways the community and the developers have collaborated to achieve their shared goal of creating an exceptional neighborhood. Engagement with existing residents has been extensive, with time and care taken over many meetings to listen to their needs and work out ways to incorporate these into the future homes. Each resident of existing public housing is reserved a place in one of the new homes, and are able to stay on-site during the whole construction process. There are decades of history on the site, as the oldest homes have been there since World War II. In the picture, you can see the new housing on the left, with the old housing units (they’re light blue) in the distance on the right.
Hunter’s View is a $450 million, 22 acre development on what was once a solely public housing site which had deteriorated beyond repair and would soon become uninhabitable. The project will provide 800 new units of housing, including one-to-one replacement of 267 existing public housing units, 85-150 new affordable rental units and 400-450 market-rate units by 2019. There are also plans for 6,400 square feet of neighborhood serving retail and community amenities including mixed-income daycare, community rooms, service offices, parks and other outdoor spaces.
After a short Q&A session with Catherine and Dan, we were escorted into one of the community courtyards surrounded by some of the 107 new units which have already been constructed, most of which are public housing. The courtyard offered a pleasant place to sit for a rest, marked by its remarkable ability to span across an otherwise steep hill grade. There has been significant effort to provide plenty of flat area and improved pedestrian access across the site which was quite impressive.
Second stop: The Shipyard
After pedaling a short way, Jackie Spear of Lennar Urban, master developer greeted our group as we arrived at decommissioned Naval base. Kava Massih of Kava Massih Architects, one of the architects for the site also joined us for the bike tour. Entering the site felt like stepping onto a movie set or entering a secret world. We even needed special Navy clearance to be there!
Master plans for the combined Shipyard and neighboring Candlestick sites are nothing short of massive, with 12,000 homes and 350 acres of protected open space on the boards. 6,000 of these homes will be in The Shipyard alone, practically creating a brand new neighborhood. Since breaking ground in 2013, the first residents have already moved in. With home prices below the average for San Francisco, 50% of the buyers of The Shipyard are first-time home buyers.
Jackie spoke of the extensive Navy history of the site and it’s buildings, also highlighting the Gantry crane which was used for lowering artillery onto battleships and for a time was the largest crane of it’s type in the world! This crane will remain a feature of the final project. We wove our bikes between the existing, unused buildings including former research facilities, appreciating the vast space which San Francisco has to offer for new housing. This made for some interesting and beautiful photo opportunities. It was an excellent place to bike, with plenty of room for us to spread out and imagine what the finished product will be.
Lennar Urban then hosted a bike-themed festival, complete with tacos, ice cream and beer. We valet-parked our bikes and enjoyed the rest of our Saturday afternoon in the sun with spectacular views of the bay and the downtown skyline.
About the Author
Leora Tanjuatco is the current outreach intern for the SF Housing Action Coalition. Her background is in writing and architecture. She took all the pictures for this blog post, too!