Local, innovative developers are working to ease the housing crisis.
The San Francisco residential market, like last year, remains in a mature position with modest price and rent growth. While employment remains strong and large technology firms continue to gobble up new office space, the city is still plagued with an unprecedented housing affordability crisis and continually mounting constraints prohibiting new supply to alleviate the crisis. Fortunately, new housing legislation, small-scale projects in either conventional or co-living arrangements, and improvements in construction technology provide hope that the city’s affordability crisis will improve.
Upzoning and Density Requirements Shift
Many developers have submitted refreshed proposals for projects featuring additional units in hope of utilizing the city’s density bonus program. The HOME-SF program, formerly known as the Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP), signed into law by the late Mayor Ed Lee in 2016, allows for market-rate developers to build up to two stories higher than current zoning allows in exchange for providing 30 percent of the project’s total units as on-site affordable housing. HOME-SF also stipulates that 40 percent of the total units in the building must have two or more bedrooms. Another legislative route, known as the State AHBP, provides a more flexible approach to encouraging density. Market-rate developers can increase the residential density of their projects by up to 35 percent if they provide 12 percent on-site affordable units with an additional one to eight percent of units reserved for low, very low, or moderate-income residents.
Developer LF George Properties was approved to build 27 condominium units at Van Ness and Filbert in 2014. Using the Hope SF program, he submitted a new proposal for the site that would add an additional two stories to the project. As redesigned by Costa Brown Architecture, the new project would yield 60 condos with 18 homes offered below market rate.
Market-rate developers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of HOME-SF. Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. (TNDC) plan to utilize the law to up-zone their proposed affordable Mission development located at 681 Florida Street. Originally planned for 86 units, the developers recently submitted an application to the city that would utilize HOME-SF to build 130 permanently affordable units. Additionally, market-rate developer Nick Podell donated the parcel to satisfy affordability requirements on his 194-unit apartment complex at 2000 Bryant Street.
Read more at SF Apartment Magazine