The 96-unit project proposed for 1296 Shotwell St. The muraled facade would face Cesar Chavez Street and Bernal Heights. Photo courtesy of Mission Economic Development Agency.

Just two months after a non-profit duo was selected to build 101 new affordable housing units in the Mission District, those same organizations have been awarded a new contract to build 96 units of senior housing at 26th and Shotwell streets.

The Mission Economic Development Agency, an established neighborhood non-profit but a newcomer to the affordable housing game, is partnering once again with the experienced Chinatown Community Development Corporation to construct the senior housing complex. It will allocate 20 percent of its units to formerly homeless seniors and the remainder will go to seniors with annual incomes between $21,400 and $35,700.

“We’re really excited,” said Karoleen Feng, the director of community real estate at MEDA. Feng said the $40 million project would likely break ground in 2018 and be completed by 2019. It will be financed by traditional affordable housing sources, including federal tax credits sold to private investors and city housing funds.

The 1296 Shotwell St. site is currently an auto shop and shares the block with a handful of other car shops and a vacant electrical warehouse, with residential buildings across the street. The site was dedicated to the city by the developer of the New Mission Theater and market-rate Vida Apartments as part of their affordable housing requirements back in 2013.

Residential services in-house will be provided primarily by Chinatown CDC, with external health services through partners like Mission Neighborhood Centers and the Mission Neighborhood Health Clinic.

“Our vision was really to allow our residents to age gracefully and also to promote active living, given the fact that they are in the Mission District and will have access to a lot of resources,” Feng said.

A bike-sharing program, rooftop terrace, barbecue area, and outdoor walking labyrinth are just some of the amenities designed to encourage active lifestyles, and Feng hopes its proximity to the 24th Street corridor will immerse residents in the neighborhood.

“We expect that [residents] will need less car mobility, but we’re really encouraging them to be bike mobile and pedestrian mobile,” Feng said, though a drop-off point with van access is included for those with mobility issues.

Precita Eyes Mural Arts will also partner with the non-profit developers, possibly offering arts classes and mural tours to senior residents as a means to “take advantage of all the rich cultural resources in the neighborhood,” according to Feng. Because the eight-story building planned will be significantly taller than surrounding buildings, a large mural on the south-facing wall is planned as a way “for this to be an interesting building for the neighborhood to look at,” Feng said.

The decision follows the announcement of several others in recent months that will bring 362 units of affordable housing to the Mission in the next few years. These are the first 100 percent low-income housing developments in the Mission since Valencia Gardens was rebuilt in 2006.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Campos announced earlier this year that the formerly market-rate condos at 490 South Van Ness would become fully affordable. That project will bring at least another 72 units to the neighborhood. However, no non-profit developer has been chosen for the project.

For MEDA, being awarded two projects back-to-back so recently after its acquisition of six small sites buildings and the transfer of hundreds of public housing units to its care is a boon to its credibility as a housing developer.

“The projects we applied for are projects that we as a community have fought for in the last decade,” Feng said of the 101-unit project at 2070 Folsom St. and the 165-unit project at 1950 Mission St., the latter awarded to Mission Housing.

“We knew we needed more affordable housing in the neighborhood to fight displacement,” Feng said. While the organization’s acquisition of apartment building helps individual tenants, Feng said the agency will continue to focus on building large projects in order to add to the housing stock of the Mission.

“Our new construction strategy is a long-term strategy for providing more housing supply in the neighborhood.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the 1296 Shotwell St. site was a vacant electrical warehouse. It is an auto shop, the warehouse is next door. 

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  1. Great project! Looking forward to this building on Shotwell. It’s also very interesting that there’s no NIMBYism to this 8 story project but the 10 story project proposed at 1979 Mission St. is called the “Monster in the Mission”. Looks like the official cut-off for Monster status is 9+ stories.

  2. I count 9 stories as shown in the rendering. Also it appears that the CCDC/MEDA proposes the building to be built out lot-line-to-lot-line which indicates no open space.

    What sort of re-zoning is this, going from commercial/industrial to housing; and from one/two stories to 9 stories?

    Spot-zoning is not the way to build. Residential Design Guidelines indicate a 9-storey building – no matter who is intended to live in it – should not be plunked down in a two-storey neighborhood.

    1. Seriously? Much needed affordable housing for seniors is going up. If residents city-wide keep complaining about height restrictions, nothing will get built. Not building enough is what got us into this mess. Enough with NIMBYism. I’m very happy this project is moving forward and I hope to see many more in the future. We need it in order to preserve economic diversity in our city.

      1. Good for you Ms Guiterrez, I completely agree. If you look across neighborhoods built long ago and now revered there are taller buildings mixed with lower. This gives different income folks points of entry and provides diversity. It’s a relatively recent , and selfish POV in my opinion, that anything taller than what’s beside it is bad. This project looks like a great addition to the Mission. Bravo.

  3. “’We expect that [residents] will need less car mobility, but we’re really encouraging them to be bike mobile and pedestrian mobile,’ Feng said, though a drop-off point with van access is included for those with mobility issues.”
    This is a very exciting development and I am very happy to see this plan in the neighborhood. The transit thinking is flawed, however. They see seniors as people who will either walk and ride bikes OR have mobility issues that will necessitate accessible vans. In fact, many seniors need to drive more because they can’t walk as far, or bike, and need to get to where they need to go, and maintain their independence, rather than being so impaired that they need to be shuttled around.