The 513-unit Potrero Yard affordable housing development will break ground in 2024, its developers announced on Thursday, and portions of the project may be completed as early as 2027.
“We’ve hit all of our milestones on target,” said Bonnie Jean von Krogh, public affairs manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, speaking at a recent informational hearing before the Planning Commission. The transit agency is sponsoring the project, and Von Krogh emphasized that the key focus right now is to keep the project on schedule.
The project involves two different components: The first, for which funding is already secured, involves replacing the Muni bus yard currently on the site; the second, for which funding has not yet been found, will involve building housing atop the bus yard.
That first portion could be finished as soon as 2027, developers said. But there is no clear timeline for the housing portion, which could take much longer.
The project, at 2500 Mariposa St. near 17th and Bryant streets, would be the largest affordable housing development in the Mission in recent memory. It would bring in 513 units across three buildings.
The first will include 101 units for seniors who earn between 30 and 70 percent of the area median income, ranging from $30,250 to $70,600 for one person. Those units will face Bryant Street, a mix of 43 one-bedrooms and 58 studios.
The second will include 191 units for families making between 35 to 100 percent of the median income — between $35,300 to $100,850 for one person, and from $50,450 to $144,100 for a household of four. That building will be 52 three-bedrooms, 51 two-bedrooms, 66 one-bedrooms and 22 studios on the rooftop.
The remaining units will be reserved for workforce housing, with incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the median income, ranging from $80,700 to $121,000 for one person, with a mix of 16 three-bedrooms, 90 two-bedrooms, 75 one-bedrooms, and 37 studios also on the rooftop.
In a 5-0 vote, the commission unanimously supported bringing the project back to the commission on Jan. 11, 2024, for a vote on whether to raise height limits.
Beyond that, the project will be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, and requires subsequent approvals from the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
The project has generated some controversy from neighbors worried about parking: It will have no parking spaces, part of the city’s transit-oriented development approach, which seeks to reduce car ownership in new housing. For some tenants living in similar units, that has meant thousands in parking tickets and fines.
As part of MTA’s plan to rebuild and expand the Potrero Yard bus facilities, the 513 units will be built on top of, and adjacent to, the three-level bus facilities between 17th and Mariposa. Entrances for the housing lobby will be on both Bryant Street and Hampshire Street.
Matthew Snyder, a senior planner at the Planning Commission, said the transit agency’s current plan for the rooftop space calls for a flexible design that prioritizes housing. If housing fails to go up there, the space will be used for paratransit parking for disability or disabling health conditions.
Derek W. Braun, one of the planning commissioners, is skeptical about the plan’s versatility.
“I certainly hope that the housing can be built, and that it does not end up being used as a paratransit facility,” he said.
Chris Jauregui, a representative of Potrero Neighborhood Collective, the lead developer for the project, reassured him: “The overall vision of this project is to maximize housing.”
Jauregui explained that the timelines would be different for the bus yard renovation and the housing projects because of different funding sources: The bus yard would be financed through fundraising by MTA and its infrastructure developer, Plenary. But the housing portion has still not secured funding.
Von Krogh said MTA added the paratransit option knowing that the housing portion of the project will be finished after the bus yard portion.
“We’re pursuing the SFMTA facility just so that we can align the design, and make sure that either option works, just in case the housing option [does] fall through,” von Krogh added.
Kathrin Moore, the vice president of the Planning Commission, raised concerns about the design for the 103 units on the Bryant Street side of the project. That building has a so-called single-loaded corridor, which means that the units have views in both the front and back of the units.
“You cannot build super expensive housing and say, ‘We’re going to be putting this on the market as affordable,’” said Moore, pointing out that such a design would require more stairs and elevators.
Braun praised the SFMTA and Potrero Neighborhood Collective’s decision to remove the bus entrance on 17th Street and put the bus entrances on Mariposa Street. He said it will make for a safer, more protected bike lane on 17th Street.
Braun also appreciated the renderings of a positive pedestrian experience at the ground level, with public survey results of species and palettes of trees, shrubs, and plantings.
“A facility like this could easily wind up repeating a mistake of some of the ground-level experiences at Embarcadero Center, portions of which were built above a podium with basically a very dead street wall,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article conflated the bus yard component and housing component of the development, based on timelines presented during the Planning Commission hearing. The article has since been edited to reflect that the bus yard would be completed before any housing.