Monday, November 2, 2015
The area around the Balboa Park BART station has the potential to be redeveloped into San Francisco’s next big transit-oriented neighborhood. That transformation may soon start with the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development issuing next month a request for qualifications for a developer to build 80 family housing units on Balboa Park Upper Yard near the station, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The 1.8-acre property is currently a parking lot that serves as commuter drop-off point – but its access to busy transportation hubs nearby could make it an ideal spot to build affordable housing, the mayor’s office said. It is currently the only site in all of San Francisco where a BART station is located directly opposite one-story buildings and single-family homes. The area saw some activity a few years ago with AvalonBay’s 173 apartments above a Whole Foods, but not much has been developed there during the past few years.
That may be about to change. Recent upgrades to the area and its easy accessibility to transit make the area an ideal location for affordable housing, said local authorities, who are hoping for a renewed interest in the entire area.
“We think all the work we have done to the Upper Yard is going to attract housing developers,” said Supervisor John Avalos told the paper.
Market-rate developers who currently own land in the area agreed with that assessment, saying the Excelsior has a lot of potential for new projects with an affordable price point.
“We think it’s a prime spot for housing,” developer Brian Spiers, who owns 65 Ocean Avenue, told the paper. “It’s a great neighborhood close to great transportation. We think it will be a somewhat affordable place to build, at least compared to the rest of San Francisco.”
Teresa Yanga, director of housing development for the office, told the paper the city’s plan for the 1.8-acre site is to create a project that is 100 percent affordable, specifically targeting residents who make 60 percent of area median income, or about $61,000 for a family of four. Yanga said the city is closely watching the outcome of Tuesday’s vote on Prop A, a $310 million affordable housing bond.
“If Prop. A passes, our intent is to pursue some opportunities in that district,” Yanga said.