88 Broadway Site

With the designs for the proposed development of 184 affordable apartments to rise up to six stories in height across the half-block-plus parking lot parcel at 88 Broadway having been refined and newly rendered, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (THD) are seeking to have the development “right-sized.”

And to be clear, despite the current state of the market and affordable housing crunch, that’s not a call for more density and height.

From the Dwellers in a recent letter to Planning:

THD strongly supports affordable housing for all those in need, including seniors and others unable to find affordable housing to remain in the City. We always have, and we always will.

Whoever lives in the new 88 Broadway, we will welcome them as neighbors.

Our primary concern is with the size, mass, and scale of the proposed buildings. The 88 Broadway project, together with the adjacent proposed Teatro ZinZanni project, will combine to transform the high-profile Broadway gateway to North Beach and Chinatown. Because of the sensitivity of their locations at that gateway and within the Northeast Waterfront Historic District, the success of both projects’ design and functioning is of high importance to us all.

And noting that the tallest of the proposed 88 Broadway buildings “would be 10 feet taller than the tallest adjacent building and more than twice as tall as the lowest building,” the Dwellers are advocating a “right-sizing” of the proposed 88 Broadway buildings, “to better respect adjacent urban design, ones more compatible with the size and scale of existing historic and other nearby buildings and the nature and character of the Northeast Waterfront Historic District.”

Identified by the Port of San Francisco as “the greatest affordable housing development opportunity among the Port’s seawall lots in the northeastern waterfront,” but having faced neighborhood pushback over just how affordable the development should be, the development as proposed would yield 130 apartments for families earning 50%-120% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 54 units for seniors earning 40%-70% of the AMI, along with 11,400 square feet of retail/commercial space, including a 55-slot mixed-income childcare center to be operated by the YMCA of San Francisco.

San Francisco’s Architectural Review Committee is slated to provide their thoughts next week.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Milo

    Nothing like THD coming down to screw over affordable housing. True NIMBY legends.

  2. Posted by anon

    I oppose this development in its entirety and don’t care if I am classified as a NIMBY or anything else. People should live where they can afford to live. It’s common sense. Duh. How about offering people 1-way bus tickets to any cheaper part of the U.S. to live in?

    • Posted by Sue Yu

      I agree. I worked 2 jobs, scrimped & saved to be taxed up the wazhooo and to be told by the City what I can do w/ my property.

      • Posted by Bernard Thomas

        What does this project have to do with “your” property”? What is being argued here is whether someone else–the developer–can do what he wants with HIS property. I assume you believe he should be able to build as high as he wants, havng scrimped and saved to buy a developable bit of real estate.

    • Posted by aerel

      That’s fine, I just hope you don’t mind paying $20 for your morning Starbucks, because if there’s no affordable housing in the region, they’re going to have to pay baristas $30/hour to show up to work.

      • Posted by Sabbie

        Nope, they will switch to robot baristas.

        • Posted by wonton

          Well then, the business will go under…..because robots don’t buy anything.

          So all this scaremongering about robots really falls flat. You sure tried it though.

    • Posted by Hunter

      “Where they can afford to live” depends on many things, including whether a city builds the proper amount of housing. So many folks will be able to afford to live here once this affordable development is finished. If what you really mean is “I only want to live near wealthy people” move to Marin.

    • Posted by Bernard Thomas

      In other words, warehouse them all in the Tenderloin so you don’t have to see them? I have never understood why San Francisco’s supposedly “progressive” leaders buy that nonsense. Do you think your money buys you the right not so see people with less money (and people who qualify for “affordable” housing in SF are usually working and not actually “poor”).

      Short of putting more such housing on outer Broadway, I can’t think of a better place than Telegraph Hill and, perhaps, Noe Valley. Let Aaron Peskin live and confront daily what his polcieis have wrought.

    • Posted by AlfieJr

      this is sarcasm, right?

    • Posted by zig

      The market for housing development is hardly efficient so we should be finding ways to help this. All the working poors living in Stockton is not a good idea

  3. Posted by sjb

    If you don’t want to be told what to do with your property, I bet the city/developer doesn’t feel like being told by NIMBYS to reduce the size of its project on its property, eh?

  4. Posted by Sassy

    THD will be able to easily see over 6 stories…

    • Posted by ess

      That’s not their point, their point is to reduce the number of units in the development.

      • Posted by Elitist Pig

        That is definitely their point, mainly because they brought that up as a concern. They would love for this lot to remain a parking lot.

        • Posted by flowmotion

          Yeah, like 25 years ago, I lived in “lower telegraph hill” and when parking was a cluster on weekends, I would use this lot. It was an amenity.

  5. Posted by Jake

    There are buildings nearly this size one block away on Broadway at Battery and a half block away on Front. And there are many 4 story buildings around there. I wonder who has a view that would be blocked by a 6 story building at this location but not a 4 story building. Too bad they don’t have enough space for a small grove of trees, redwoods.

    anon and Sue Yu are in (in)famous company: “This land is too valuable to permit poor people to park on it,” Justin Herman, 1970, as head of SF’s Redevelopment Agency, upon evicting Asian seniors from Manilatown; which was a 10 min walk away from this location.

  6. Posted by SFRealist

    And with Peskin in office, good luck getting this approved.

  7. Posted by formerly%whatever

    Editor: who is in the SF Architectural Review Committee?

  8. Posted by jlasf

    I am probably going to get slammed for this, but….doesn’t it make financial sense to build these affordable units in a less expensive neighborhood? This land must be some of the most expensive in the City. Why not maximize the value of the land and then apply that to building in another neighborhood. I don’t mean the Tenderloin. I mean in a middle-income area. I am not looking at this as social engineering, but as efficient financial planning of a City asset.

    • Posted by ess

      What is it you see in this that the developers themselves didn’t take into account?

    • Posted by francis

      This land might actually be cheaper because after what happened in the lot next to it (8 Washington), who would want to go through the pain of trying to building anything?

    • Posted by LM

      Since this land is so valuable, it should have 50-story tower with luxury condos on it. Or a tech office building. That really would be the highest and best use.

      Just sayin’

  9. Posted by Jake

    this land is under CA State legislation that requires it be used for affordable housing as a condition of removing it from public trust of tidelands and the Burton Act. SF has to get permission from state agencies to use it for anything else, as well as spend the money from it to buy other land or put the money into a state fund (see SEC5. of the legislation at namelink).

    BTW, I posted this same info on SS back in August when this project was featured. Editor might want to include a mention of this in the future to help readers understand that this is not just “a City asset” and how it is used is also an interest/responsibility of the entire State of California.

  10. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Add more floors, but only if the F-Line is continued all the way out to the Presidio on the Pan-American exhibition line…. Park Service already is up-ending track that could have been used as a route directly out to a public park… Transit Oriented Development needs to assist in the routes and improvement of mass-transit.

    • Posted by invented

      Wholly agree; the NIMBY whine is a joke bc of the Hill here. 10′ taller than the tallest adjacent. And so? In this transit rich critical location? Let’s go up another 50′. U P Z O N E — C R E A T E H O U S I N G.

    • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

      @Aaron, I’d add that in improving the transit in this area, the city should upgrade the F/E line so that it can support multi-car LRVs to support the additional folks living in the area as well as the tourists also using the line for access to/from Fisherman’s Warf.

    • Posted by zig

      With PCCs and single tracked?

      That is cute and fun but does not seem serious public transit. Why not real low floor LRT?

    • Posted by spencer

      THD are about as bad as trump and his gang of racist thugs. the THD don’t want anyone else in their neighborhood, but especially poors. If they cared about SF and were truly progressive, they would ask it to be upzoned

      • Posted by Truethevote

        I love Trump and am neither a racist nor a thug. Just a lowly educated, law abiding tax payer 🙁 – sorry to burst your foregone conclusion. Liberal tolerance strikes again…

  11. Posted by Jay78

    Too short in height. To make better use of this land and it’s proximity to public transportation, it needs to be no less than 20 stories in height, all affordable housing!

  12. Posted by Serge

    We’ll be stuck with these for decades. Can they at least design them to fit the character of the neighborhood? At least something similar to the Battery/Pacific development that makes an effort to blend in. Even the now 12-year old development on Battery and Broadway (NE corner) tried to fit in and did a fantastic job. Then again, Golden Gateway Commons tried to “blend in” and looks like a 70s/80s mess.

    • Posted by feralcockapoo

      Are you talking about The Gateway Apartments or Golden Gateway Commons? The latter is in fitting with both Jackson Square and the Northeast Historic Waterfront area. The former is truly quite heinous though.

  13. Posted by macarthur

    Should be 100% affordable and at least 30 stories.

  14. Posted by John

    If it were 5 stories, THD would ask that it be 4. If it were 4 stories, THD would ask that it be 3. That is just the way these people are . . .

  15. Posted by dt

    The quotes from THD are the most transparent, nonsensical B.S. I’ve heard from a NIMBY group, and I’ve heard a lot of NIMBY nonsense.

  16. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    THD are using basically the same “right-sizing” arguments that haven’t worked for NIMBY groups elsewhere in the city. I have a strong hunch they’ll be more successful, though.

  17. Posted by Patrick

    Just sent to the THD via their website:

    Just learned that THD is advocating that the development at 88 Broadway be “right sized” — by which you apparently mean downsized.

    I am appalled at the rank insensitivity of the NIMBYs at THD, that you would oppose homes for working families in San Francisco, considering the housing crunch we are in. You disgust me.

    Enjoy your views,

    Patrick Carroll

  18. Posted by Ann

    Our building bought by developer who Ellis Acted us out and after decades as a tenant I am unable to afford a studio in SF.

    THD is way too powerful and snobby for those of us regular people on Telegraph Hill.

    I have watched them for years interfere with improvements in our neighborhood. We have the land, we need the housing and let it be understood that those of us who have lived and loved this neighborhood are more than happy to live in an economically diverse community… it used to be that way.

  19. Posted by Truethevote

    Hey here’s a concept – how about not giving prime real estate to low income housing? How about saying your income cannot exceed 70k- 125k so that MIDDLE CLASS workers can live in the neighborhood and walk to down town. We already have a deadzone in North Beach near Bay street AND an SRO on bway and Columbus. I walk to work from North Beach every day. This morning some menacing lunatic was kicking in the service door to Tosca, then the gaggle of homeless that congregates on Broadway near Enricos made me change my path and wait for the light. Yes this is what the neighborhood needs more menacing residents who do not contribute to the community – genius.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      You will be pleased to know that the vast majority of low income housing residents are not menacing lunatics and by definition not homeless either.

      • Posted by Truethevote

        True but if 10% are – that is 10% too much. Walk from Grant and Columbus South at 8am and tell me if the neighborhood can sustain this type of housing. B’way tried to revive itself years ago with Black Cat etc. Now it is back to seedy clubs that people stay at until 8am. There is broken glass on Kearny and Romolo all the time. Walk by the projects of Columbus – that whole area is suppressed because of the drag of the projects.

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          Truethevote: The idea of an income-based bracket, with both top and bottom limits, for residence in a specific neighborhood is an interesting public policy idea. But as far as the menacing lunatics, what you’re really arguing for is a repeal of the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act.

          Did you vote for Yes on Proposition K?

          • Posted by truethevote

            Brahma – I embarrassed to say I cant remember! They put so much nonsense on the ballot you need a PHD and a sherpa to figure it out. I will look up this act though- thanks for the heads up.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        If you stop by the SF Superior Court, Dept. 501 on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon when they post the unlawful detainer/eviction calendars, you will see a lot of suits brought by various non-profit owners of low income/homeless housing against their tenants for many nuisance issues (drug use, drug dealing, hoarding, violence or threats of violence against other tenants, etc.)

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