As the SFMTA proceeds with their grand plan to modernize the 109-year-old Potrero Yard bus facility and build 500 units of affordable housing on top of it, we receive word that they may reduce that affordable housing component to barely 100 units.  

You have probably walked by the outdated and unattractive Potrero Yard bus facility, considering it’s been there for 109 years at Bryant and Mariposa streets. And the SF Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) has been on a years-long kick to not only modernize the repair and maintenance facility, but also build 500 new housing units on top of the bus yard.

The plans have changed over the years, and Mission Local reported in January that the housing component was most recently whittled down to 465 units, though all of these units were set to meet the criteria for affordable housing.

But now we learn that whittled-down 465 units may be chopped down significantly to just 103 units. Local news website The Frisc reported on this possible downsizing in February in an article with the admittedly clever headline “SF’s In Danger of Throwing Hundreds of New Affordable Homes Under the Bus.”

And on Monday, the Chronicle picked up the story and pointed out that “more than 75% of the proposed housing is at risk of never being built” because of “significant funding hurdles.”

Image: SF Planning Commission

The above image is from a January SF Planning Commission meeting, and shows the 513-unit version on the left (Refined Project) and the much smaller 103-unit version on the right (Paratransit Variant). Both of these ideas are still possibilities.

“The MTA is doing everything possible in its own power to make the project fully feasible as proposed. We’re doing a project that has never been done or conceived,” SFMTA’s chief strategy officer Jonathan Rewers told the Chronicle. “No one has ever integrated commercial bus yard architecture with housing.”

The budget for this thing is still up in the air, so the constraints aren't known with certainty. SFMTA plans to pay for the thing with state bonds and tax credits, but many of those are not even in the application phase yet. They’re also counting on potential 2024 and 2028 SF bond measures, theoreticals that could be years away, plus this is obviously a difficult market for construction and development.

“The thing we can’t manage is the market,” Rewers added to the Chron. “We can’t control the construction market. We definitely can’t control interest rates.”

The rebuilt bus facility will surely break ground before the housing, and the housing can simply be added on top later. Per the Chron, the bus facility is scheduled to start construction next year, and the housing component could take until 2028 to begin construction.

You can bet, regardless, if the housing component is downsized, that this project will be held up by the YIMBY faction as another example of San Francisco throwing away an opportunity to build hundreds of much-needed housing units.

Related: Muni's $400M Potrero Yard Refresh To Include 500 Housing Units, Half Will Be 'Affordable' [SFist]

Image: SF Planning Commission