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San Francisco breaks ground on Transbay Blocks 2 West and 2 East, paving the way for affordable housing

San Francisco, California – On Wednesday, Mayor London N. Breed stood with other leaders and locals to start construction on Transbay Blocks 2 West (2W) and 2 East (2E) in San Francisco’s East Cut area downtown. These buildings will provide 335 affordable apartments and are expected to be finished in winter 2025 and spring 2026, respectively. They will house over 700 residents.

“These projects are exactly the type of transit-oriented housing that we need to create in San Francisco to benefit some of the City’s most vulnerable residents and meet our housing goals,” said Mayor Breed. “These homes will not only provide stability to seniors, low-income families, and formerly homeless individuals, they will also add vibrancy to Downtown and move us closer to our 30 by 30 goal of adding 30,000 residents and students Downtown by 2030.”

Block 2, where these buildings are being constructed, spans 42,627 square feet. It was purchased in 2021 by the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII) from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA). The site is surrounded by Beale, Folsom, Main streets, and the soon-to-be-extended Clementina Street, located in the East Cut neighborhood.”

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Today’s groundbreaking is a major milestone for the Transbay redevelopment plan as we prepare to welcome more seniors and families to one of San Francisco’s most exciting new neighborhoods,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “As we continue to make progress on our ambitious Housing Element goals, projects like these are what inclusive, 21st century urbanism is all about.”

The Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) is spearheading the development of Block 2W, which will provide 151 affordable housing units aimed at seniors who earn between 15% and 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Additionally, 30 of these units will be set aside for seniors who have previously been homeless.

“We’re thrilled to embark on Chinatown CDC’s largest senior housing project in 25 years! With 151 units, including homes for formerly homeless and low-income seniors, Transbay Block 2 West Senior Housing embodies our commitment to quality living,” said Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director of Chinatown CDC. “Our seniors deserve great design, transit, green space, and walkable neighborhoods. Partnering with OCII, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and Bank of America, we’re turning this vision into reality.”

Mercy Housing California is taking the lead on Block 2E, where they will build 184 affordable rental units for families with incomes ranging from 40% to 80% AMI. This block will also allocate 40 homes specifically for families that have faced homelessness.

“We are proud to partner with OCII and Chinatown Community Development Corporation to ensure that families and seniors with low incomes benefit from the City and County of San Francisco’s visionary Transbay Redevelopment Plan,” said Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California.

Both housing sites, Transbay 2 East and Transbay 2 West, offer a range of amenities for residents. These include community spaces onsite, outdoor roof decks that provide views of a future park in Block 3, and various events and programs. Resident services are also available, provided by Episcopal Community Services at Transbay 2 East and Chinatown Community Development Center at Transbay 2 West.

The combined budget for these two projects is $309 million, funded through various sources. This includes a significant $41 million grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), equity from federal low-income housing tax credits provided by Bank of America, and strong support from the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII). Additionally, the funding from the State will be used not only for housing but also to enhance pedestrian and transportation infrastructure. This includes upgrading transit signals at 29 intersections in the South of Market area and providing free Muni passes to residents of Block 2E for three years.

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“The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program allows HCD to leverage cap-and-trade funds to support developments that further not just housing, but California’s critical climate and equity goals,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “We are connecting low-income families to opportunity, while reducing vehicle miles traveled and further cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

“This unique dual effort to adapt a former bus depot into high quality, service-rich affordable housing for seniors and very low-income residents will transform this South of Market neighborhood and the lives of its tenants,” said Liz Minick, Bank of America Market Executive, San Francisco-East Bay. “Bank of America’s construction debt and tax credit equity will help two of our leading nonprofit developer partners – Mercy Housing California and Chinatown CDC – and the City and County of San Francisco make this vision come to life.”

The Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII) is tasked with fulfilling the commitments of the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco within the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area, which includes Block 2. To date, this project area has seen the completion of 2,196 residential units, 721 of which are designated as affordable housing.

Block 2, together with Blocks 3 and 4, forms part of the land previously used for the Transbay Temporary Terminal. Block 3 is planned as the site for a future park, and Block 4 currently hosts The Crossing, which offers food and recreation options. Additionally, plans are in place to extend Clementina and Tehama Streets through these blocks. The Transbay Terminal operations were moved to the new Salesforce Transit Center in 2019.

“The Block 2 developments are the fulfillment of the community’s vison to develop a mixed income neighborhood for all San Franciscans,” said Thor Kaslofsky, OCII Executive Director. ”We are grateful to our neighbors and partners for their collaborating on this dynamic development, and we look forward to welcoming new residents and providing affordable childcare, retails spaces, and services.”

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“Today’s groundbreaking marks a significant milestone in the Transbay Program’s goal to create affordable housing downtown and convert the old temporary Transbay Terminal into critical housing for the City’s vulnerable communities,” said Adam Van de Water, TJPA Executive Director. “These projects build on the success of the East Cut neighborhood, extending its leadership as a thriving, transit-oriented, mixed-use, and mixed-income downtown of the future, anchored by our multimodal Salesforce Transit Center.”

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