Just to illustrate the difficult economics of building affordable housing in a time of great need for it, Mission Local is reporting that nearly all of the budget from an affordable housing bond approved by voters last November allocated to the Mission District is being spent on a single, 143-unit building.
On the one hand, that's 143 new affordable units which are joining another few hundred spread across four other projects in the immediate vicinity; but on the other it's just 147 units that will cost $103 million to build, $43 million coming from the city out of a $50 million allocation for the neighborhood. That's $300,000 per unit which according to a 2014 study commissioned in part by the CA Department of Housing and Community Development, is about on par with most affordable developments, with a mean construction cost of $288,000 per unit over the last decade.
SF voters passed a $310 million bond in November, Proposition A, which was to provide funding for such 100-percent affordable projects, and $50 million of that was allocated to the Mission District.
The new project at 1990 Folsom, the land deal for which happened earlier this month, occupies an abandoned lot that was formerly a cookie bakery and its associated parking lot, at the corner of Folsom and 16th Street. The project is being developed by the non-profit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), and this means that despite there being a 200-unit goal for the use of the city's $50 million, only $7 million remains for other projects to make up the remaining 57 units.
This seems like all the more reason for the city to look to new solutions like the one being proposed by developer Patrick Kennedy for supportive housing for the homeless stacked converted shipping containers, which he says he can build for a fraction of the cost of 1990 Folsom, or about $200,000 per unit.
Just down the block at 17th and Folsom, a nine-story, 127-unit all-affordable building is in the approvals process, and the entire area may get a whole lot taller in a few years thanks to density bonuses for affordable projects with three others going in at 1296 Shotwell Street (96 units), 1950 Mission Street (160 units), and 490 South Van Ness (72 units).