‘Pre-Construction Ceremony’ Held For Balboa Park Upper Yard Housing Development

A rendering of the Upper Yard housing development project slated for Balboa Park station. Image courtesy of Mithun.

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — Community leaders, housing developers and city officials Wednesday celebrated a “pre-construction ceremony” of a 100% affordable housing project at the site of the Balboa Park Upper Yard.

The project will have 131 units, including a 3,994-square-foot licensed early childhood education center, a family wellness resource center and a commercial space for bicycle maintenance operated by the nonprofit PODER. The project was kickstarted by former supervisor and present supervisor candidate John Avalos.

In addition, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and BART redesign the southern portion of the Balboa Park BART station plaza to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and add a new vehicle drop-off area.

The nine-story building will include one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments. Officials said the new will home will be made available to residents at or below the Area Median Income of 40%, 50%, 74% and 104%.

The project has been a long time coming for residents and community groups have worked on the project for years. In 2012, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved the sale of the parcel to partner agencies and was eventually transferred to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development to develop affordable housing. 

The Upper Yard had been formerly used as a parking lot for SFMTA employees and most recently used the lot by city officials as the most recently the city’s first safe parking site for homeless individuals living in vehicles.

“It’s important to take advantage of sites like this,” said Sam Moss, the executive director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, which is leading the project’s development. “They don’t come up very often, with the construction as expensive as it is, and the uncertain times right now.”

Mayor London Breed said at the ceremony that this was a groundbreaking project for the Ocean View-Merced Heights-Ingleside community in District 11 who have fought for years for affordable housing units. 

“It’s one of the second 100% affordable housing projects in the Lakeview community, and that has no small part to do with the people of this community who have fought for years and years for their fair share of not just housing but 100% affordable housing,” Breed said.

District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai thanked Breed for putting the project at the top of her list after he pointed out to her that the community had seen no 100% affordable housing units built.

“Mayor Breed put us at the top,” Safai said. “She listened to us. She heard the community. She heard our voices and filled that gap an additional $20 to $30 million.”

The state contributed over $33 million to the project, which included $20 million in housing funds, $3.3 million for new BART cars, $5 million for improvements to the BART plaza and $1.2 million for pedestrian and bike safety improvements on Ocean Avenue, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Additional financing of the project also came from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community  Development, who contributed $32.5 million. 

Officials expect the project to be completed in 2023.