It’s a new beginning for what was once, arguably, the sketchiest McDonald’s in San Francisco, as they just broke ground on what will be a gorgeous 160-unit affordable housing complex on that long-vacant site.

The Haight Street McDonald’s at 730 Stanyan was known more for the crimes that regularly happened there than for its burgers or fries. But the city bought the building in 2017 to turn it into affordable housing, and then the location limped along in limbo still selling McNuggets for a year or so until the McDonald’s was fully demolished right before the pandemic.

And the site of the McDonald’s has still had a long, strange trip since. Once COVID hit, the location transformed into a successfully operated safe-sleeping tent village (though that brought a lawsuit from neighboring businesses, who dropped the lawsuit when they realized they had hired a prominent pro-Trump GOP lawyer), and then a hastily canceled homeless drop-in center with restrooms and showers. But since that center closed, the site has sat empty for more than a year and a half.

It’s not empty anymore. As seen above, ground was broken Wednesday on what will be a 160-unit, 200,000 square-foot, 100% affordable housing complex at the former McDonald’s. In a subsequent tweet to the above thread, Mayor Breed adds that the complex “will have a child-care center, community spaces and more,” and Eater SF adds there will be a ground-floor food hall.

“This will be a major affordable housing development in a neighborhood that is desperate for it,” the district’s supervisor Dean Preston told the Chronicle in February. “We are very excited about this.”

Image: SFGov

That Chronicle piece adds the building will be eight stories, with a ground floor retail complex, and a very nice tall tree in a courtyard as seen above. The piece also details that “Fifty of these units will be set aside as permanent supportive housing, to include 30 units for transitional youth exiting foster care and 20 units for families experiencing homelessness.”

Image: SFGov

Is this building architecturally “out of character” with the surrounding neighborhood? Heck yes it is, but every single one of those units is affordable. If you want to see more of what this terrific affordable housing project looks like, there’s another set of official renderings here.

Image: SFGov

Now that ground has been broken, the expected completion date is sometime in 2026.

Related: Notoriously Sketchy Haight Street McDonald's Fully Demolished [SFist]

Image: @LondonBreed via Twitter