State Gives Tenderloin Affordable Housing Project $20M

California’s cap-and-trade program funds a transit-oriented affordable-housing project, to replace auto shop Kahn & Keville.

With a fresh $20 million in state funding, a transit-minded affordable-housing project in the Tenderloin can finally move forward.

On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) — which owns the property at 500 Turk St. — announced that the state’s affordable housing program approved the final $20 million needed to bring the development past the finish line. Once completed, it will replace the current auto and tire shop Kahn & Keville, best-known for the stirring and ever-changing sayings posted on its prominent corner sign.

Of the 108 units earmarked for families making half of the area median income, 27 will be reserved for families who prefer to transfer from HOPE SF public housing.

The project has been years in the works, and it still has years to go. TNDC first bought the property in 2016 with the help of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Funds came from 2015’s Proposition A, which brought the city $310 million in bonds for affordable housing.

The primary purpose is, of course, housing, but transit is another key component. About $6 million of the award will go toward projects like bike and pedestrian improvements on Fifth and Sixth streets, the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project, and a canopy for the Civic Center BART station entrance. Crucially, the new funding also includes three-year transit passes for residents of 500 Turk St.

It’s unsurprising that California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program felt the transit-minded project was worthy of investment. The state’s cap-and-trade program, which charges polluters for going past a set carbon emission limit, funds the housing program.

“500 Turk St. represents the best of equitable transit-oriented development: dense housing in the middle of the City that will reduce greenhouse gases,” Don Falk, the CEO of TNDC, said. “By partnering with the city to maximize the use of state funds, we can preserve much-needed local funds for other affordable developments.”

It’s not the only such project in the works, either. Breed also announced that another $20 million was awarded from the program for an affordable housing project on Treasure Island that will result in 135 units of housing and support transit service.

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