Balboa Reservoir first to be tapped for development under SF mayor’s Public Land for Housing 

click to enlarge City officials held the initial community workshop last week to kick off potential development at the Balboa Reservoir near City College of San Francisco, which will likely see requests for proposals by this summer. - GABRIELLE LURIE/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Gabrielle Lurie/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • City officials held the initial community workshop last week to kick off potential development at the Balboa Reservoir near City College of San Francisco, which will likely see requests for proposals by this summer.
A year ago, Mayor Ed Lee pledged to tackle San Francisco’s housing crisis by ensuring that 30,000 new or rehabilitated housing units come to market by 2020.

The mayor also directed city agencies to consider the housing potential of underutilized sites throughout San Francisco, which led to the creation of the Public Land for Housing program. The program has since identified four such sites that are ripe for development to benefit the community.

And last month, talks of developing the first site started.

City officials held the initial community workshop in mid-January to kick off potential development at the Balboa Reservoir site at City College of San Francisco, which will likely see requests for proposals by this summer.

Built in the mid-1950s, a 17-acre portion of the 27-acre site is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The other 10 acres are owned by CCSF. The site currently serves as a parking lot for the school.

“This is an opportunity to bring in public investment and public amenities to the neighborhood,” Jeremy Shaw, project manager for the Planning Department, said at Wednesday’s meeting.

More than 100 residents attended the meeting and shared ideas for the site. They included a 6,000-unit development or simply leaving the site as-is. “It’s an eyesore right now; it’s the worst thing about our neighborhood,” said Jon Winston, a 15-year resident of Sunnyside.

Winston said he would like to see a mix of below-market-rate and middle-class housing built at the site, but nowhere near 6,000 units.

Newly elected CCSF Trustee Brigitte Davila, a resident of nearby Mission Terrace, said she favors housing on the site as well, possibly for faculty or students of CCSF.

“I want to make sure that whatever we do keeps the integrity of the neighborhood,” Davila said.

Simon Hanson, a CCSF professor who lives at the edge of the Excelsior district, said the housing plan is of concern since it appears to be set in stone.

“There’s much more community input needed, and it needs to be inputted at the beginning,” Hanson said.

Shaw, the project manager, emphasized that Wednesday night’s meeting was simply a first step in coming up with plans for the site.

“There is no design or proposal on the table right now,” Shaw said, adding that the purpose of the meeting was to receive input from the community.

The Planning Department will analyze suggestions and comments received at the meeting, and continue public outreach through the second community meeting scheduled for March.

The other sites slated for the Public Land for Housing program include Fourth and Folsom streets in South of Market, 1950 Mission St. in the Mission district and Upper Yard at Balboa Park.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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