A nine-story, 127-unit fully affordable project officially broke ground at 17th and Folsom on Wednesday — the fourth of seven approved projects in the Mission’s affordable housing pipeline.

On Wednesday evening, around 60 community members, nonprofit leaders and city officials gathered at 2060 Folsom St. to put shovels to dirt. The ceremony opened with a blessing of the site by Aztec dancers to the beat of drums and the smell of burning sage.

“We are only at the beginning of our path of this journey to address the Mission District’s housing crisis,” said Mission Economic Development Agency CEO Luis Granados.

The project, which is being developed jointly by the MEDA and the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), will reserve 29 units for formerly homeless transitional-age youth. The project will also eventually provide office space for Mission-based nonprofits such as PODER, Mission Graduates, and Good Samaritan Family Resource Center. It was designed by Mithun Architects and Y.A. Studio, and will sit adjacent to In Chan Kaajal Park. 

The project will require $88 million to build, pulling together around five different public and private funding sources, including grants from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and loans from US Bank.

Construction is expected to wrap up in fall 2020.

“This is a long time coming,” said Mayor London Breed during a speech. Indeed, the city awarded the site to the two nonprofits more than three years ago.

“This particular victory is an example of the power of organizing, conviction, and the success of demanding more affordable housing,” said Marilyn Duran, a youth organizer with PODER, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrant families.   

The groundbreaking comes roughly seven months after MEDA and CCDC broke ground on their shared 94-unit project for seniors at 1296 Shotwell — the first 100-percent affordable project to begin construction in the neighborhood in a decade.

It will also be yet another pillar in MEDA’s ever-expanding real estate empire. MEDA currently has five projects in the works — including the two aforementioned projects under construction, as well as a 143-unit building at 1990 Folsom St., 130 units at 681 Florida St., and a yet-to-be-approved 12-story, 63-unit condo building at 18th and Mission

But MEDA is not the only entity developing big, affordable projects in this neighborhood. Mission Housing Development Corporation has broken ground on both of its Mission-based projects — 82 units at 490 South Van Ness Ave. and 156 units at 1950 Mission St. And Mission Neighborhood Centers and Mercy Housing are jointly developing 45 units of senior housing at 3001 24th St.   

“I love this project!” said The Rev. Norman Fong, the executive director of CCDC, at the end of his speech. “Now we’re going to do the shovel thing, right?”

City officials and community members officially break ground at 2060 Folsom. Photo by Julian Mark.