Planning Commission postpones vote on unique Tenderloin rental development 

click to enlarge The Planning Commission on Thursday opted to postpone until July 9 voting on a request for a conditional use authorization and downtown project authorization for two eight-story group housing buildings at 361 Turk and 145 Leavenworth streets. - MICHAEL AREAS/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Michael Areas/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • The Planning Commission on Thursday opted to postpone until July 9 voting on a request for a conditional use authorization and downtown project authorization for two eight-story group housing buildings at 361 Turk and 145 Leavenworth streets.
A unique mixed-use development of more than 200 group housing rental units in the Tenderloin will have to wait another month before getting the green light from The City to move forward.

After an hour of public comment, the Planning Commission on Thursday opted unanimously to postpone until July 9 voting on a request for a conditional use authorization and downtown project authorization for two eight-story group housing buildings at 361 Turk and 145 Leavenworth streets that together will comprise 234 units.

The commissioners, while primarily supportive of the project, also agreed with dozens of speakers who argued a more robust community outreach process is needed to respond to neighbors with concerns about light and air impacts, among other issues, from the project.

Housing activists also spoke out in favor of the project, arguing that the creation of rental units that also causes no displacement is an ideal use for parking lots as The City grapples with a dire housing crisis.

The two buildings, slated to be constructed on parking lots that have been undeveloped for the past century, had initially drawn the ire of community groups that contested a lack of below market-rate housing at the sites.

Current city law does not require group housing projects to include below market-rate housing. However, an ordinance introduced earlier this year by Supervisors John Avalos and Jane Kim would amend that rule and, if approved, the law would retroactively apply to this project.

Richard Hannum, chief executive officer of Forge Land Company LLC that is spearheading the project, said below market-rate housing is already planned for the site.

If approved, the entire structural system of the buildings will be constructed in Sacramento, then trucked to San Francisco and assembled on-site — a first-of-its kind effort in The City and nation. The endeavor cuts in half the development time and minimizes the construction impacts on the neighborhood, said Hannum.

“We’re basically using a brand new technological solution to address a housing issue in the heart of technology,” he said.

Construction will also entirely employ labor union workers, he added. Proponents emphasized the project would also add more than 6,500 square feet of commercial space, while not displacing any residents. Additionally, mixing market-rate and below market-rate housing on the same site was favored by speakers and commissioners.

“Mixed income in a neighborhood is a good thing,” Commissioner Michael Antonini said. “We want to have neighborhoods in San Francisco where we have different income levels.”

Each rental unit will be about 250 square feet, and have a private bathroom. Communal spaces including roof decks and lounges are also planned.

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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