A land purchase to build 140 units of affordable housing in the Mission District was reached today, according to those involved in the deal.
A lot at 1990 Folsom St. at the corner of 16th and Folsom streets — currently an empty fenced-off building — will be transformed into a fully affordable housing project built by the Mission Economic Development Agency, a non-profit housing developer.
The project is one of the few in the Mission District involving the $50 million allocated specifically to the neighborhood as part of Proposition A, the housing bond that voters approved in November 2015 that gave $310 million towards the construction of affordable housing city-wide.
The lot was last purchased on June 30 of this year by 1990 Folsom Investments LLC for $17.3 million, according to public records. Records list Grant Barbour, the head of acquisitions with the non-profit housing group Build Public and a real estate broker, as the representative of the limited liability company in the purchase.
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Housing did not return requests for comment on the purchase of the site. Barbour also did not immediately return a request for comment.
It is not clear if the city purchased the site from 1990 Folsom Investments LLC and for how much.
In January, a group of Mission District non-profits and residents met to decide the use of Proposition A funds, landing on the purchase of two to three medium-sized lots to build some 200 units.
Sheila Chung-Hagen, a legislative aide for Supervisor David Campos, said that the funding for the 1990 Folsom St. project had already been allocated to MEDA.
“I believe that it’s already been decided that they’ve won the bid,” she said.
MEDA declined to comment on the deal. News of the deal was posted to Facebook by one of the involved parties shortly afterwards.
“Signing documents along with Spike Kahn today to help purchase the unused factor at 1990 Folsom @ 16th,” wrote Jean Chadbourne, the founder of the arts collective the Growlery in the Haight-Ashbury, in a since-deleted Facebook post. Kahn is the founder of the arts space the Pacific Felt Factory and was one of the primary opponents of a controversial 335-unit housing project on Bryant Street.
Chadbourne said the project would involve 140 units of below-market-rate housing, with a fifth of the units reserved for formerly homeless families. She also said 5,000 square feet of the project will be used for child services as well as arts space.
The lot is some 29,000 square feet and zoned at a 58-foot height limit, according to public records. As with other fully affordable housing projects, however, the developers could choose to break height limits to squeeze more units on-site, either by using existing state law or seeking a one-time exemption.
The abandoned factory on-site belonged to Earthgrains Baking Company until June and once hosted a baking factory. It has sat empty for years and plays host to homeless people who sell wares on the sidewalk.
Block-long tent encampments stretch along 16th Street between Folsom and Harrison streets, and the lot lies across the street from the Mission Neighborhood Health Center on the corner of 16th and Shotwell streets and another block from the Dandelion Chocolate factory.
If built, the 140-unit affordable housing project would join some 455 units of affordable housing approved for the neighborhood in the last decade. It would sit just half a block from 2060 Folsom St., a 127 affordable housing project also being built by MEDA.
The building is from 1963 and not historic and is zoned for light industrial space known as PDR — short for production, distribution, and repair — but also allows office and residential use.
Correction: A previous version of this story implied that decisions about the project were made in a meeting at MEDA with local representatives. The meeting was unrelated and the story has been corrected to remove the reference.