San Francisco clinches Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to remake public housing 

click to enlarge Transformation : The Sunnydale development will create 1,700 housing units. - COURTESY RENDERING
  • Courtesy Rendering
  • Transformation : The Sunnydale development will create 1,700 housing units.

Two public-housing sites in San Francisco will start the design process to build new mixed-use developments after receiving grants from the federal government.

Mayor Ed Lee, city officials and community leaders joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Friday to announce that San Francisco was awarded two $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants. With the money, Bridge Housing Corp. and Sunnydale Development Co. will be able to develop new plans for mixed-use housing at sites in Potrero Hill and Sunnydale.

Once the plans are complete, the projects will be eligible for more funds from HUD through the Choice Neighborhoods implementation grants — such as the $30 million The City was awarded last year for the Alice Griffith Public Housing Development.

San Francisco was the only city to be awarded two of the 17 grants doled out nationwide.

“It is extraordinary that of 17 Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants across the country that were awarded …  two of them are in the same state; and it is even more extraordinary that both of them are in the same city — San Francisco,” said Wayne Sauseda, HUD deputy regional administrator.

The two public housing sites are among eight in The City that will be redeveloped under HopeSF, which launched with $95 million in city bond money to rebuild the San Francisco Housing Authority buildings.

While Lee invoked the Giants’ playoff run to describe receiving the grants, he said work still needs to be done.

“These two planning grants are home runs in and of themselves, but they do not win the series, they don’t win the whole ballgame” he said. “But they are important building blocks of confidence that involved the people next up at bat.”

In Potrero Hill, the plan is to convert the Potrero Terrace and Potrero Annex sites into a community that has 1,600 units of public, workforce and market-rate housing, according to Amy Tharpe, director of policy and planning for the Mayor’s Office of Housing. The site currently has 606 public housing units that date back to 1941, according to HopeSF.

In Sunnydale, the 785 units of public housing will be converted to include 1,000 affordable rental units and 700 affordable and market-rate for-sale units, planning documents show. Preliminary plans also call for new park space and revitalized street corridors.

In both projects, housing construction will be phased so that, along with support services, residents will not be displaced, Tharpe said.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the southeastern neighborhoods, said the investment goes beyond just rebuilding the physical structures.

“We are putting people first and supporting them with new, solid policy,” she said.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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