A request for a court order to prevent the sale, and possible redevelopment, of Fredrick Douglas Haynes Gardens, a 104-unit complex for low-income residents which spans half a block bordering Hayes Valley, has been filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

Built in 1973, the development at 1049 Golden Gate Avenue includes six buildings and was funded with a loan from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which deed restricted 84 of the 104 units for Section 8 housing, the residents of which can currently make no more than 50 percent of the Area Median Income to qualify.

But the HUD loan has been paid off, the deed restriction removed, and Third Baptist Gardens Inc., the landlord of the property, has quietly put the property on the market with agents touting the potential for market-rate rents reaching up to $7,000 per month.

For perspective, the most recent Section 8 contract for the complex, which expired last year, agreed to rents ranging from $758 for a one-bedroom to $1,570 for a four-bedroom, with tenants contributing 30% of their income for rent and the difference paid by HUD.

While founded by the Third Baptist Church to develop affordable housing in Western Addition, Third Baptist Gardens is no longer affiliated with the Church which is now leading the charge to block the sale.

40 thoughts on “Church Sues To Block Sale Of Low-Income Housing To A Developer”
  1. well, aside from the fact that should never have been torn down and redeveloped into a superblock, it’s hard not to sympathize with the several hundred tenants and the land owners who are looking at what could be a block worth maybe 100 million bucks. the rub here is that the city will never allow eviction and redevelopment here without pretty much a 1 to 1 replacement of the units, which is great and the buyer should expect. but like this is a block that could easily fit 1000-1100 units of varying sizes if we let it built to just 8 stories.

    1. agree, let them do 1 to 1 replacement. i think they are doing that in potrero hill too. i do believe mixing of low income with regular units makes the area safer.

  2. I genuinely hope the landlord prevails. Hayes has too many Section 8 and project-style housing complexes and can definitely use some market-rate housing to spruce up the area.

  3. On the Buchanan corridor, and advertising potential 7K a month? That’s a joke. The city has gentrified a lot in the past four years or so, sure. But that’s a joke. No chance.

  4. I’d prefer a nice swimming pool there, 3,000 people just moved in/moving into the neighborhood already.
    Enough housing already, Section 8 or market rate.

  5. A pool? Hamilton pool is at the corner of Geary/Post and Steiner. It is about a ten minute walk away.

    But I suppose, oh yeah, you could buy the property and develop it towards your goal, which is a pool.

    1. Too many projects btwn Hayes Valley & the Hamilton Pool.
      Hayes Valley needs it’s own pool.

      Anyway we need a whole overhaul of the housing program in SF, so while the City figures a plan lets have a pool instead.

  6. Politically, the only way you can demolish rent controlled units en masse in this city is to sign a Costa Hawkins waiver for the replacement units (as Parkmerced and the proposed Kirkham Heights project will do.)

  7. This whole area has always seemed laughably low (density and height), indicative of the values (land and social) at the time of their construction. Take a look at the satellite view on googlemaps and see how much of property is devoted to surface parking….ridiculous! We tore down Victorians and replaced them with schlocky garden apartments. I agree that it’s a political non-starter to lose the affordable housing, but this could so easily be redeveloped at a denser scale with a mixture of market rate and affordable units. AND have better quality public space to boot, probably!

  8. although i am prodvelopment, i support keeping these. 104 units is just too many to take away from a very BMR class right away.

  9. These blocks desperately need to be redeveloped but in a way which doesn’t permanently displace the existing 200 residents. This is where the city should be spending its money, not on million dollar apartments in the Mission. It won’t end well for the current residents if this block is sold to a third-party.

  10. We should have taken the opportunity provided by the former highway lots and rebuilt this whole area, shifting residents out of, then back into, their own blocks, thus helping to maintain the community links. Instead of suburban apts, the end result should have been mid-rise apts with many, many more residents including market-rate, more real open space, and underground parking.

  11. The tear down of so many nice Victorians in this area was a crime. “Redevelopment.” How did people allow this to happen?

    1. Short-sighted politics, many pushed by Justin Herman. Aside from the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, I can’t think of any single force that has caused so much damage to SF than Mr. Herman.

  12. I’m not sure why anyone would want to pay anything close to market rate to live in that area. It’s like hell on earth. This complex is between my home and Proxy and I walk about 6 blocks out of my way so I don’t have to walk through this ghetto.

      1. What a naive comment. The last time I walked through there (a couple months ago) I was treated to seeing a woman severely beat her toddler in the street and a kid no older than 10 drinking a 40 on a stoop. Is this your idea of a good time?

    1. All the people scared away from that area may be why it is so easy to park on that block of McAllister when I need to go to the Civic Center. Close, free street parking. WA never seemed very scary to me. If you want to calibrate your sketcho-meter, take a walk on the wilder side of CC, in the TL.

      1. Sketchometer – try Fruitvale and further south. Holmse. Though truth be told things are changing rather rapidly over hear in Oakilland. Peanut gallery out.

    2. That’s the beauty of “market rate”. It accounts for things like scariness.

  13. Developer should do what Sangiacomo did with Trinity Place––and in this case it’s just as feasible––build building #1 on parking lot/ open space, move all exsiting tenants into it with lifetime leases, tear down the garden apartments and build the rest. No displacement, BMRs saved, more units for everyone.

    1. Exactly. If both parties are wise a compromise will be struck similar to the deal Chris Daly brokered for his constituents at Trinity motel prior to its demolition. The site is currently zoned for 50 ft but just across the street there is an 11 story Western Addition Redevelopment era tower so no reason they can’t bump up the height a little bit.

    2. I agree. A similar deal would be a good fit here and improve the neighborhood while not eliminating any bmr housing.

  14. This is zoned for 5 stories and unlikely to see an up-zoning. Still, density could be increased in return for a guarantee of those already living in the complex that they can stay as long as they want.

    8 stories here is possible but that is probably about the upper limit of any up-zoning.

    1. Why shouldn’t it be allowed to go as high as the building at Webster and Golden Gate? That’s at least 10 stories, and it’s right across the street.

    2. Why is 8 stories the upper limit? We should look long and hard at this area being upzoned to 20+ stories. No hills to block views, great central location, etc, etc. This should really be one of the densest neighborhoods in the city, at least on par with the Mission, but instead its exurban-density schlock.

      1. 8 stories, 10 stories. its up to the deal the developer is willing to make to protect the existing residents. No way 20 stories gets built here. Even Van Ness is not zoned for that height.

        There is the issue of green open space too. The developer needs to address keeping the area “green” IMO.

        1. “The developer needs to address keeping the area “green” IMO.”

          Don’t you intend to say you hope the developer creates some “green” area. Currently it’s an asphalt wasteland. What “green” area are you talking about?

          1. It’s not an asphalt wasteland. Most developments in the area are set back with lawns and trees in the yards. The buildings are spaced fairly far apart and, even though most of the land it taken up with parking, there are lawns and trees between them, extending into the middle of the blocks (not that I’m defending the “garden apts” style that belongs in a suburb).

          2. And Buchanan is one of the City’s few pedestrians “streets”, though it doesn’t extend for many blocks.

      2. No hills to block views

        Uh… this area lies below Alamo Square and is directly in the path of the spectacular view from that park to City Hall and downtown. That’s not to say it couldn’t take considerably higher buildings.

  15. Think of all the affordable housing that could be built if churches paid taxes.

    Oh, they don’t want to do that. They want everyone else to pay for it, but only they get the monopoly on piety.

    1. You’re forgetting that somehow it’s beneficial to society if people can all share the same delusions as opposed to each coming up with their own.

      If this church is granted legal standing to fight this in court, our judicial system is seriously screwed up.

  16. I have no problem with low income housing, but it must make sense. In today’s San Francisco Chronicle there is a article about this property. An elderly woman paying $222 for a 3 bedroom apartment is an insane waste of scarce housing. It appears that the property is being grossly underused & should be sold & redeveloped. If the tenants can be reasonable I would support them. It would be a win for everyone concerned.

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