Balboa Park Reservoir Site

The City of San Francisco has just issued an official Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and concepts from development teams interested in buying, designing, entitling and developing the western 17 acres of the Balboa Reservoir site which is currently a 1,000-space parking lot under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

While nothing has been set in stone, and the land – which is currently designated for “Public” use and development of no more than 40 feet in height – will need to be rezoned, based on years of community input and planning, the rough parameters and expectations for the site have been outlined as follows:

  1. Building heights of 25 to 65 feet,
  2. At least 50% of all proposed housing to be designated as permanently affordable to low, moderate and middle-income households with incomes of 55 to 150 percent of the Area Median, and
  3. At least 4 acres of new parks and open space

In addition, the teams will be expected to collaborate with City College, which borders the property, “in areas such as parking and transportation, housing, and childcare,” with an emphasis on transportation demand and congestion management.

Responses to the RFQ are due on January 18, 2017, finalists are slated to be announced on February 17, and the remaining teams will then be invited to submit detailed proposals for the land.

The detailed proposals will be presented to community stakeholders for public comment and evaluated by a panel to select the development team with which the City will then enter into negotiations.

The Balboa Park Reservoir, which represents one of the largest underdeveloped sites in the city, was built in the 1950’s, has never held a drop of water and is one of San Francisco’s Public Lands for Housing sites identified for priority redevelopment.

Balboa Park Reservoir

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Government Shrinkage

    I am curious to see if they get any offer with a 50% below market requirement.

    • Posted by HousingWonk

      The RFQ appears to allow for a wider range of BMR than what you would usually see with San Francisco BMR. In this case, a portion of the half reserved as BMR can go up to 150% AMI. Which means, for a 1BR unit, rent can be up to $3200.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        More than just a mere portion. In this case, a third of the proposed below market rate units are expected to be priced as affordable for households with incomes up to 150 percent of the AMI and another third up to 120 percent.

        • Posted by HousingWonk

          So then something around only 16% of total units would the more standard BMR (60% AMI if rental, 100% AMI or so if for-sale)?

  2. Posted by Pero

    I think they will. Why?
    1) This is a large, flat piece of land in proximity to Balboa BART.
    2) Sunnyside has become more and more desirable over the past years as home prices in Glen Park and Bernal have blown through the roof. Good schools, walkable blocks and easy access to highways/public transport make it attractive.
    3) The Whole Foods market on Ocean Avenue illustrates that income levels are already high in that area.

    • Posted by Mark

      Not to mention studios above the WF complex start at 3k a month.

  3. Posted by Tony

    > Building heights of 25 to 65 feet

    That’s a crime against the people of this city…

    • Posted by ess

      eh, this is essentially the Modesto of SF, so not out of character.

      • Posted by AnonAnon

        You mean because of all the farmland surrounding City College or the warm weather?

        • Posted by Notcom

          No b/c of the
          Water (it was going to be a reservoir, after all)
          Wealth (as noted, incomes are going up)
          Contentment (people get to live in SF)
          Sorry there’s not much Health involved here (I wasn’t arch enough to fit it in)

  4. Posted by donjuan

    25 ft?? Right next to a BART stop? 50% affordable housing?

    Real Estate developers will take a big hit from this Trump Presidency. There’s no way they can subsidize SF’s insanely terrible public planning anymore.

    • Posted by AnonAnon

      Right next to a BART stop is a bit of an exaggeration, it is at least a half a mile, close but not right on top by any means.

  5. Posted by djc

    The City will have to find parking for 1000 cars of students driving to school. Public transportation does not work for them

    • Posted by busrider

      or improve public transportation so that it does work for many/most of those who have been using this parking lot

      • Posted by Easwuud

        This is definitely happening soon and well within the realm of possibility.

  6. Posted by Dave

    This location is next to one of the too few unique neighborhoods in SF – Westwood Park. The arts and crafts homes are a treat and it’s too bad this little neighborhood was not architecturally carried over to what is now Sunnyside or across to Ingleside.

    The worry is that 3, 4 and 5 story boxes will be built on the reservoir. Similar to the adjacent development along Ocean Ave which, Whole Foods aside, is pretty sterile.

    I assume street cuts will be made connecting this project to some of the Westwood Park streets as points of egress. Aside from what that might do to WP parking and traffic, the bigger issue is will there be any effort made to make buildings in this new development unique and interesting to look at – carrying over from the tone of Westwood Park? It’s not about copying the arts and crafts theme of WP, but of creating structure that are pleasing to the eye and compliment WP in some way – as opposed to a wall of boxes hemming in the west side of WP.

    • Posted by cfb

      You love the quasi suburban westwood park, you call Ocean Avenue aside from whole foods “sterile” (you must have a strange definition of “sterile”), and you want a new development with good transit access to mimic the suburban form of westwood park…while the city is in a massive housing crisis and very little open space to build on. And you seem to be against most other development in the city as well. I think a quiet suburb might be more to your liking, and you wouldn’t have to stress yourself out constantly trying to convince people that a major, growing city should act like a small town.

  7. Posted by Frank C.

    Indeed, yes, the “worry” is that the esthetics will not be Top Notch. No need to worry about such silly claims of the rabble and their unproven concepts of supply and demand.

    We’ve got a lovely parcel near heavy rail, by God, Jeeves, let’s keep it down to a civilized level of development, yes? Quite.

  8. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    They should double the parking and build an office building on top of a shopping mall ala Westfield Mall – how they got CCSF or SFSU classes expanded into their shopping mall.

    Built in labor force and customer base. Just needs tons of parking and better stop lights to solve the traffic on that exit. Maybe add 2 turning lanes into the sidewalk and move the foot traffic away from that intersection. Phelan/Ocean is a terrible intersection to pass thru from 3pm-8pm.

    • Posted by Anon123

      And while they are at it, they should realign Caltrain/HSR tracks from the airport through Daly City and make a stop here to ease the congestion…

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