In 2012, the Mayor’s Office of Housing withdrew their financial support for the development of a 13-story building on the parking lot at 1036 Mission between 6th and 7th Streets, a site zoned for building up to 120 feet in height.

The approved project would have provided 100 apartments for low-income families and the formerly homeless. And to some, the move by the Mayor’s Office seemed to suggest a position that SoMa real estate had become too valuable for any more low income projects.

In two weeks, the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) will return to the Planning Commission seeking approvals for a scaled-down project on the site, rising 9 stories with 83 apartments for households earning up to 55 percent of the Area Median Income and 1,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the development.


Correction: While the TNDC had proposed to partner with the developer of 399 Fremont Street to finance the development of 1036 Mission Street and satisfy the affordable housing requirement for the Fremont Street tower off-site as originally reported, that proposal has been deemed “unworkable.”

The downsized 1036 Mission Street development will, in fact, be financed by San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing along with the State of California’s Housing and Community Development Department as the TNDC has successfully secured “some of the last remaining funds from the voter-approved Proposition 1C,” according to Katie Lamont, the TNDC’s Director of Housing Development.

31 thoughts on “Downsized Affordable Housing Development On Mission Returns”
  1. How is this not Ghettoization (is that a word)?
    The City should be encouraging development of mixed market and low income housing.

  2. you can complain about the middle/upper class moving in and reducing crime and fixing up a neighborhood, but don’t you dare complain about low income/ formerly homeless moving in!
    i hope that they give rooms to deserving families who will take care of their housing. it would be a shame if this building falls into disrepair.

  3. 1. It’s Ghettoization.
    2. With development sites becoming fewer & fewer in this area, why would TNDC not want to max out the site’s potential?

  4. Why has SOMA been seen as the dumping ground that the rest of the city does not want??? Ok how about a fair share policy. Nine Districts how about each target a ninth of the future anticipated need? By the way, any below market housing should prioritize single women with kids, then families with kids. Forget the street people, they are never gonna give up drugs and drinks…that my friends reflects some frank conversions I have had with coherent street people in my west soma location. If you don’t believe me just chat with a few. They cannot kick their additions and many do not want to.

  5. Also, soma has the fewest services of any part of the city…and the new west soma zoning is a status quo redo. No retail food stores, shoe repair, hair cutters…you name it we have to somewhere else to get the service. Oh except if you want a mega club that servers out of down thug kids.

  6. Not optimal for SOMA Grand prop values. Median income in SOMA was $64k, so the 55% test would eliminate anyone earning >$35k

  7. These sure are a lot of dumb things getting thrown around in these comments.
    The presence of poor people means your neighborhood is a “dumping ground”!
    Too many poor people in one building = instant ghettoization!
    Affordable housing is the same as public housing!
    Clubs in SOMA only “servers out of down thug kids”! (nice spelling, by the way)
    As for the actual project…it’s too bad it’s been downsized. More units are always a good thing in SF.

  8. You really can’t do anything just right. People either complain about gentrification or they complain about ghettoization.
    Actually the few affordable housing in SOMA looks nice enough to me. 8th and Howard is bright and cheerly. It also has a grocery store on the ground floor. “Spread It Out” should not have much to worry about services. If you build it the service will come.

  9. Where does one start… Geneva Towers? Valencia Gardens? North Beach Place? You can even go as far as Pruitt Igoe. High-density low-income housing does not work.

  10. Addendum: The rebuilding of Valencia Gardens and North Beach Place only improved because they were opened up to a mixed-income demographic, not purely low-income.

  11. @cfb, Wai – agree; golly I thought that at worst there’d be a couple “build it taller comments” – but “ghettoization” over one 9-story building in what’s already a very mixed-use and improving area?!
    We’re talking just a couple blocks in one direction from the new Market St. shopping center; a few blocks in the other from NEMA. And the criteria is simply 55% of the area median income; unless the “area” component of that is solely the people lined up on the sidewalk drinking from paper bags (reminder: this neighborhood ain’t no Pac Heights to begin with), 55% of area median income will be a pretty high number by most standards… so it’s hardly like we’re shoving the dirt-poor into a walled compound in the hinterlands!!!
    Bizarre reaction.

  12. The project at 8th and Howard is really nice, but that “grocery store” is kind of a joke. That place is INSANELY expensive.

  13. I have to agree that grocery store is basically at whole food price. Even Safeway is going upscale these days. The only affordable option remain are the organic-free grocery stores in Chinatown.

  14. Finally, we have a shortage of homeless and low income people! Why else would this be built way under legal limits?

  15. “The only affordable option ”
    Costco! Awesome prices. And Trader Joe’s – very good prices on staples and pretty good prices on other things. And Safeway prices are good if you skip the organic produce.

  16. These are not projects – they’re “affordable.” You won’t have a repeat of Geneva towers happening in this location. At the end of my block is an affordable housing complex. Never had any problems in the 3 years I’ve lived here.

  17. S: Neither were Geneva Towers, they were built as private housing but the developers ended up filling the towers with Section 8 tenants. Intent and outcome are two different things. History has shown that high-density low-incoming housing does not work out well.

  18. wish i were surprised to read the comments here at Socket Site by some War On/Blame The Poor supporters about this much needed SOMA affordable housing, but …
    anyway, a few facts can help:
    – the extra high-rise fire code costs of building above 9 floors would add about 15% to the entire project’s construction costs – all the units – and there just is not enough funding avabilable from any source for that. so it’s necessary to keep all the affordable projects everywhere at this lower height. ultimately this produces the most affordable units possible grand total citywide.
    – the same cost issue applies, btw, to TNDC’s other nearby affordable housing site at 5th/Howard.
    – it’s the quality of a project’s property management and community engagement that determines its impact on the Neighborhood, not the the income category of its residents. good property management builds good neighborhoods.
    comments about lack of inexpensive shopping in SOMA are just dumb (where do they live?). any local knows where the Target is – a walk/bus trip for many – and Rainbow is just on the othe side of the freeway on the west side. best of all the weekly UN Plaza Farmers Market.

  19. Hi,
    Please stop using the term “Ghettoization.” It is very offensive to Jewish people and over-simplifies the complex and dynamic urban evolution of this area… This is a wonderful development. If you don’t think homeless should be housed, and you don’t think they should sit/lie, and you don’t think they should be imprisoned because of how expensive that is, I’d love to hear everyone’s brilliant ideas.

  20. i like it. makes are more dense so more services can be provided. 9 stories across all of Soma would be fantastic.
    it would be nice to pull it up to 75% of median income to get more xsectional group of tenants. since 55K is the median, 75% is still $41K which is still very low for SF. Also, would be nice to require at least one employed member of a houshold to gain access.

  21. @Serge – did not know that about Geneva towers 🙂 but at the same time, GT is right next to Sunnydale – the largest housing project in SF. I agree that having a high density of only low income people does not make a healthy neighborhood but this is hardly that. It’s a relatively small project surrounded by market rate housing. Definitely not smart to lump all low income people together away from other incomes but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here.

  22. John,
    I’m Jewish and quite capable of understanding that the meaning of ghetto has changed somewhat over the last century. But if you read the comments, the concern isn’t over housing low income people, but over whether a mid-rise apartment is the best solution. Historically there have some major disasters when large numbers of low income people are placed in a “ghetto” separate from the population at large. The comments, as I’m reading them, have some people suggesting more mixed income communities, from poor all the way to middle class all sharing similar space. Other people are saying that this project is pretty small and so is part of a mixed income community and is not a “ghetto.”
    And at least one person is making the point that there is a very big difference between hardened street people who prefer to live on the street and the vast majority of short term homeless people and low income people who would benefit from government assistance.
    But I think the usage of ghetto is appropriate, is understood, and is is a real reflection of what the word actually means, updated for other people who are not Jewish.

  23. The redefinition and subsequent vilification of “the worthless poor” on this site still catches me by surprise sometimes. As noted over and over above, this project is intended to house people with incomes up to 55% of “area median” which, per one commenter, means 35K. You know who makes less than 35K on average? Cashiers and retail workers, waiters, cooks, office clerks, janitors, stock clerks and warehouse workers, security guards, teacher assistants, and hotel housekeepers. These people arguably keep your city running; I know I’d miss them more in my daily life than I would the last 15 or 20 tech workers I drank next to. And since you need them – both for their essential services and apparently also to give you something to feel superior to – you might condescend to let 83 of them live less than a transbay BART commute (aka “5 hours wages every week” for many of them) from their jobs.

  24. Mixed income is preferable over only low income. A good friend of ours would qualify for this housing. She was a widow, raising two children on the income of a day care teacher. I would gladly have her love next floor to me.

  25. We need all of those people, sure. And I was one of those people for many years. You know what though? I lived in a place with roommates, that’s how I lived. That’s how you live on a lower income, by sharing with others, not by super commutes or city-subsidized housing. That’s what we know works, because it’s worked for hundreds of years – and quite well in this very city.

  26. UPDATE: While the TNDC had proposed to partner with the developer of 399 Fremont Street to finance the development of 1036 Mission Street and satisfy the affordable housing requirement for the Fremont Street tower as originally reported, that proposal was ultimately deemed “unworkable.”

    The development of the downsized 1036 Mission Street project will, in fact, be financed by San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing along with the State of California’s Housing and Community redevelopment Department as the TNDC has sucessfully secured “some of the last remaining funds from the voter-approved Proposition 1C,” according to Katie Lamont, the TNDC’s Director of Housing Development.

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