The San Francisco Giants and a team of affordable housing advocates led by Supervisor Jane Kim have reached an agreement to increase to 40% the affordable housing component in the team's Mission Rock development. Under the agreement, which was reached early this morning after an all-night negotiation session, the project will include what Supervisor Kim calls an “unprecedented” level of below-market rate housing, at the following levels:
- 2% of units affordable to residents earning 45% of the area median income (AMI)
- 10% of units affordable to residents earning 55% AMI
- 4% of units affordable to residents earning 90% AMI
- 17% of units affordable to residents earning 120% AMI
- 7% of units affordable to residents earning 150% AMI.
The development is expected to include approximately 1500 housing units total. The 2015 area median income [pdf] is $71,350 for a single person and $81,500 for a couple.
“Both sides really stretched to come to this agreement,” Kim said today by telephone. “We are now looking at a project that can include everyone from ballpark workers making 45% of AMI all the way to middle-income residents like teachers and nurses.”
A document memorializing the deal was signed by the Giants and the negotiating team of affordable housing advocates, which was made up of Jane Kim, Supervisor John Avalos, and representatives from the Bill Sorro Housing Project (BiSHoP), the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and UNITE HERE Local 2.
The Giants have long planned to build a new neighborhood at Seawall Lot 337, the 38-acre site that is currently used as Parking Lot A for AT&T Park. The land is owned by the Port of San Francisco and is leased by the Giants. In 2013, the Port and the Board of Supervisors tentatively approved a plan for the project to include eleven high-rise buildings (up to 380 feet tall) with a mix of residential, office, and retail uses. At that time, the Giants proposed that 15% of the rental units would be affordable to residents earning 55% AMI—the statutory minimum for a new development project.
After the passage of Proposition B, which requires voter approval for any increase in zoning height limits on the waterfront, the Giants revised their plan. In May, they introduced a ballot initiative that would increase the height limits to just 240 feet and ensure that 33% of the housing units were affordable to residents earning from 55%-140% AMI. Their ballot initiative also included language that would make it “official policy of the City” that the Giants could use the Jobs-Housing Linkage Fees collected from the project to fund the affordable housing.
That was a key sticking point for Kim, who says that Jobs-Housing Linkage Fees (which all developers pay into a city fund) have traditionally been used to fund “deeply affordable” housing, such as housing for low- or no-income seniors and the homeless. Kim says she was concerned about the precedent that would be set if a private developer was allowed to use those funds toward its own development.
On June 2, Kim introduced her own ballot initiative at the Board of Supervisors meeting that would limit building heights for the project to just 120 feet and require that 50% of the housing units be affordable: 33% of units for residents earning 55%-120% AMI and an additional 17% for residents earning 150% AMI. Kim's proposal also eliminated any commitment of public funds.
The prospect of a competing measure on the November ballot brought the Giants to the negotiating table.
“We went to the Giants asking them to dig deeper,” Kim said. “I give credit to the Giants. They really showed their commitment to San Francisco.”
Kim will now withdraw her ballot initiative while the Giants go forward with theirs. In a statement released this afternoon, the Giants announced that all eleven members of the Board of Supervisors are now endorsing the Giants' ballot initiative:
“We are delighted that the members of the Board of Supervisors have signed on in support of the community’s vision to open access along the waterfront, create new jobs, provide neighborhood-serving retail and to build new parks and an unprecedented level of affordable housing,” said Giants President and CEO Laurence M. Baer.