The site of the proposed park and affordable housing development. Photo by Alan Sanchez.

Just five weeks after 1950 Mission Street was approved for 165 units of affordable housing, 101 new affordable units will be coming to the former parking lot at 2070 Folsom St. They will be built via a joint partnership between the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and the Chinatown Community Development Center (CDC).

This brings the number of affordable housing units approved for the Mission this summer to 266.

“This is a huge deal, and we feel like it’s bringing our brand of affordable housing to the Mission,” said Karoleen Feng, the Director of Community Real Estate at MEDA.

This is the first housing construction project for the non-profit, which has recently made strides in the affordable housing game with its purchase of six small sites earlier last month and the transfer of some 400 units of public housing to its care.

The 17th and Folsom development will house 16- to 24-year-olds transitioning from state or foster care and low-income families. It will look over a park that has been years in the making.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017, and Feng hopes to have residents start moving in by late 2018 or early 2019. City officials said construction on the park next door would begin earlier and likely be completed by next summer.

The youth tenants transitioning will have rents 30 percent of the area median income of $71,400, while the low-income family tenants will pay up to 60 percent. One-fifth of the 101 units will be one-bedroom studios for the youth, while the rest are mostly two- and three-bedrooms. 

“Our concept for this was three-fold: To take the transitional age youth and help them to really establish a community in a neighborhood with a lot of resources, like the Mission; to be a symbiotic development with the park next door; and to ensure that resources that are at risk of displacement stay in the neighborhood,” Feng said.

To that end, Feng said the ground floor of the development will house local non-profits like PODER and Jamestown Community Center. The Mission Neighborhood Resource Center and the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center will also provide childcare in the building, Feng said, and Larkin Street Youth Services will give job training to youth residents.

“We’ll also have entry-level employment for the youth at a cafe, which will also be connected to the park,” Feng said. A walkway between the park and the housing development will connect Shotwell and Folsom, and the adjacent cafe will have restrooms open to park-goers.

“We’re really enlivening and enriching the neighborhood’s resources,” Feng said, adding they had even considered the area’s long history of flooding and raised the building by two feet to avoid maintenance issues.

A decision on at least another 50 units of affordable housing at Shotwell and Cesar Chavez is expected before October, and along with the 1950 Mission Street development and the 490 South Van Ness development that was made fully affordable in July, the Mission is slated to receive some 400 new affordable units in the next few years.

The affordable housing approved in the last two months is the Mission’s first such housing since Valencia Gardens in 2006 and follows a city-wide debate on affordability in the neighborhood. In May, activists stormed city hall to support a 45-day moratorium on market-rate development in the Mission, and on the ballot this November is Proposition I, a similar moratorium that would last 18 months.

Mayor Ed Lee has a stated goal of creating 30,000 new housing units by 2020 — one third of which would be affordable — and has supported Proposition A, the $310 million dollar affordable housing bond on November’s ballot.

But San Francisco’s chief economist said last year it would take 100,000 new units of market-rate housing to make a dent in the city’s affordability crisis, and since January 2014 only 5,600 units have been constructed city-wide, 1,400 of which are affordable.

Still, the development is the latest to come to the Mission and the first large-scale project for MEDA. It establishes a foundation on which the non-profit may base plans to build affordable housing in the neighborhood.

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Joe Rivano BarrosSenior Editor

Senior Editor. Joe was born in Sweden and spent his early childhood in Chile, before moving to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating, before spending time as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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