Design revealed for dozens of townhomes at Balboa Reservoir

Posted on: November 8, 2022

Source: San Francisco Business Times

By   –  Staff Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

A yearslong effort to transform a 17.6-acre, publicly owned swath of land adjacent to City College of San Francisco into 1,100 new homes has faced many twists and turns, and more than two years after the massive project was finally approved, construction has yet to break ground.

Despite the significant shifts in financial conditions that developers are facing in the wake of the pandemic, the project’s development team says it expects to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to purchase the site, owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

And last month, the team — which consists of Bridge Housing, Avalon Bay, Mission Housing Corp., Pacific Union Development Co. and Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco — submitted to the city renderings for 89 for-sale townhomes that it plans to build as part of the project’s first of two construction phases.

The Balboa Reservoir Townhomes project will be located on the western side of the Balboa Reservoir neighborhood, on a roughly 3.6-acre parcel at 11 Frida Kahlo Way. The project, designed by Pleasanton-based architecture firm Dahlin Group in partnership with landscape architect GLS, comes with three townhome unit plans ranging from 1,700 square feet to 2,4000 square feet. Take a look at the renderings of the townhomes in the gallery below.

The development team applied for the project’s first phase — which includes a mix of over 600 market-rate and affordable homes across four parcels, along with new streets and other infrastructure and a 2-acre Reservoir Park at the center — last August, but designs for the townhomes have previously been left blank. The recently revealed renderings feature contemporary windows with dark framing and a panelized façade system consisting of cementitious siding, wood and stucco material.

According to the latest submissions, the first phase unit mix will consist of 124 affordable family units; 150 units reserved for educators employed by City College Units as well as by the San Francisco Unified School District; 250 market-rate rentals and the townhomes, which will likely be built out as the last component of that phase, following appropriate infrastructure, per the project team.

Construction on the first phase was initially slated to start in mid-2022. Jeremy Hoffman, Bridge Housing’s director of development, said the team is “still determining project costs and financing sources,” but hopes to start infrastructure construction in 2023. The entire project was valued at $600 million when it was approved two years ago.

“Meanwhile, we’ll be working to assemble financing for the first affordable building with a groundbreaking target of 2024,” he said. Public records show that the team applied for building permits for the two affordable housing projects this summer.

The below-market-rate price of $11.6 million for the site has been a point contention in the project’s saga, which included an anti-privatization campaign by critics who wanted to see the public land — currently a surface parking lot serving the City College community — redeveloped into 100% affordable housing. In 2020, two City College instructors launched an unsuccessful appeal of the project alleging violations of California’s Environmental Quality Act in the project’s approval.

As approved, half of the project’s 1,100 units will be designated as affordable — 17% of the total units will be funded by the city.

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Learn more about VMWP’s Balboa Reservoir Master Plan here.

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