The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) is proposing to build a 12-story tower on the corner of 18th and Mission — now the site of a dilapidated former stove store — that would contain 63 below-market-rate condos.
The proposed building would be the tallest building in the Mission, exceeding the 10-story US Bank building on the corner of 22nd and Mission, the current tallest.
The new plans are a dramatic upgrade from MEDA’s original plans for an eight-story building that would contain 48 affordable condos, studio space for Dance Mission Theater, and classrooms for Mission Neighborhood Center’s early childhood education programs. The space reserved for the dance studio and the classrooms will expand in size as well. It would include no parking spaces.
The nonprofit has not determined a total project cost — but it will exceed the $45 million it had projected for the last iteration. Feliciano Vera, a senior project manager at the MEDA, said the funding will come from another infusion of federal tax credits and a bigger construction loan to the tune of $41 million. The original loan was around $35 million, Vera said.
MEDA purchased the historic building in December for $6 million and now must preserve the original “streamline moderne” facade, which the nonprofit estimates will cost at least $1 million.
“It’s a more efficient building than it was before,” Vera said. “So it’s not going to be significantly more expensive than we originally planned.”
MEDA was allowed to build higher thanks to the state density bonus program, which permitted them to build 35 percent more density than ordinarily permitted by the city because of its inclusion of below-market-rate units.
If the project receives its approvals, the nonprofit expects to break ground in February 2020, and would complete the project in 2022.
The unit mix would accommodate a range of income levels: seven condos would be reserved for folks earning 80 percent of the area median income ($66,300 for one person); 14 condos for those earning 90 percent ($74,600 for a single person); 16 condos for those earning 105 percent ($87,050 for a single person); and 26 condos reserved for those making 120 percent ($99,500 for a single person).
The condos would be kept affordable in perpetuity by capping the equity an owner can build through ownership of the condo — or having a potential buyer take out a “shared-equity mortgage,” defined broadly as a mortgage arrangement in which a homeowner shares equity with the lender following a sale.
“I couldn’t afford one of those condos,” said one community member, upon hearing the news. Indeed, 42 of the units are reserved for those earning more than 100 percent of the area’s median income: $82,900 for one person.
The AMI targets are an “initial pass,” Vera said. “Our goal is to retain the 120 percent AMI cap and deepen affordability further for those making less than 100 percent AMI, but we aren’t quite there yet.”
Other community members at meeting focused on two concerns: the project’s height and lack of parking spaces.
“It looks like an ugly behemoth,” said one community member, who declined to give her name. “I feel this is the beginning of more 12-story buildings rising in my neighborhood.”
Vera responded that the extra height simply allows for the inclusion of more units for low- and middle-income homeowners.
Another community member asked how MEDA plans to accommodate 68 new potential residents — some of whom are all but certain to have cars.
Vera said the project would be situated in a transit-rich location, with two BART stations on either side of Mission and several bus lines that run directly in front of the building. He also said building below-ground parking is “prohibitively expensive” — as much as $1 million per floor of underground parking.
“Every dollar that we would use to pay for parking is a dollar we can’t put towards affordable housing,” he said.
At present, MEDA has 557 affordable units in the pipeline, spanning five projects. According to the nonprofit, a total of 856 units are slated to built in the neighborhood, and all of them should be completed by 2022. Moreover, MEDA currently controls 617 units, either through its small-site-acquisition program or its public-housing program. The nonprofit is also closing in on a purchase of the historic Redstone building at 16th and Capp — estimated to be on the market for upwards of $25 million.