San Francisco city officials broke ground Wednesday on the future site of 80 new affordable housing units in the city's Mission District, which will bring much needed housing to the neighborhood's low-income residents.
The future apartment building at 490 S. Van Ness Ave. will be entirely made up of households earning between about $35,500 and $71,050 annually for a family of four--or between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income.
The project in the Mission District--a neighborhood long at the heart of the city's gentrification discussion--is the area's first affordable housing development in nearly ten years, according to Mayor London Breed.
"Finally, after almost 10 years we're building affordable housing in the Mission," she said.
Breed added, "Even though we have had challenges with making sure that people who live in the community have access to the affordable housing built in their community, we're not going to have that problem with this," referring to a neighborhood preference legislation passed during her time as supervisor, which she said ensures that longtime residents don't get priced out of their communities.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen said, "Sometimes when we talk about affordable housing, we're talking about housing that people who make $100,000 are eligible for. Not at this site.... Finally, the housing for families that we've been fighting for. It's truly remarkable.
"This was slated to be luxury housing. It was going to be housing that most people who grew up in this neighborhood would never be able to afford. And this community fought long, fought hard," she said.
The apartment building will also have a community room, laundry rooms, bike parking, a courtyard, and a rooftop garden, according to Bridge Housing and Mission Housing Development Corporation, the agencies involved in the putting together the project.
Longtime Mission resident, Paula Tejeda, who also owns a restaurant around the corner, said she was glad to see affordable housing coming the area, but it was a longtime coming.
"The city has to find a way to get things done faster," she said, adding that small businesses also suffer because of the displacement of low-income residents. "We're disappearing and one of our issues is that we don't have workers."
According to Breed's office, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development financed more than $27 million of the project, with an additional $56.5 million coming from Bank of America.
The development is located at the former site of a gas station and located just two blocks away from the 16th Street BART station.
The site was purchased by the city in 2015, with the help of community organizations under the direction of the late Mayor Ed Lee, who at the time called the Mission District "the center of Latino Culture in the Bay Area."