235 Broadway Site
A sister development to the cater corner Broadway Family Apartments which received 8,500 applications for its 80 apartments in 2008, the proposed affordable housing development at 235 Broadway would replace the paved parking and undeveloped lot on the south side of Broadway between Battery and Sansome, once home to an Embarcadero Freeway ramp.

The proposed project involves the construction of a 65-foot-tall, six-story, 86,000-square-foot (sf) mixed-use building containing 61 residences (78,000 sf), 5,000 sf of ground-floor neighborhood-serving retail, and 3,000 sf of supportive service space. No on-site parking is proposed.

The residential development would be 100 percent affordable and would consist of 10 studio units, 8 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units. The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency is the property owner and Chinatown Community Development Center is the project sponsor. The project would require variances from the Planning Code for rear yard configuration, dwelling unit exposure, and parking. The project would also require conditional use authorization for bulk exception.

The block-long project site stretches from the large parcels and loft buildings to the east of Battery Street to the more typical San Francisco fabric of very small lots at Sansome and to the west. The building is designed (click image to enlarge) to respond to these conditions.

From Broadway and Battery Street and stretching two thirds of the way up along Broadway, the building would contain a horizontally configured loft-like bar with retail frontage at the Broadway/Battery corner. This element has a three-story middle section over the retail base with a two-story glassy loggia above. The Broadway façade would contain a central entrance and courtyard. The western third of the block, approaching Sansome Street, would contain deep notches in the building and small, vertically proportioned elements, which would be similar in scale to the smaller buildings on Sansome Street.

The Broadway/Sansome corner would also have retail frontage. The interplay of the two compositional strategies related to the surrounding buildings would articulate and give appropriate scale to the only full-block frontage on this portion of Broadway.

Construction could start as soon as November 2011 and would last for 24 months.
Broadway Family Apartments: T-Minus Three Months To Opening [SocketSite]
235 Broadway – Broadway Sansome Family Housing Proposal [sf-planning.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Marten

    So all the windows of the adjacent buildings along the property line get blocked off?

  2. Posted by lol

    Sorry, that freeway ramp is historic. Don’t touch it.

  3. Posted by Mike

    This is crazy! Citizens band together. There is already an affordable housing project across the street. There is a high end private membership club opening just down the street. Doesn’t seem like this is the right place for this type of development.

  4. Posted by Bob

    Hummmm… I’m missing your point, [lol]. Perhaps you are joking? I don’t understand about the freeway ramp that isn’t there.

  5. Posted by Invented

    “8,500 applications for its 80 apartments in 2008″
    I’m having trouble conceiving of this volume.
    WHERE are these 8420 families now living? That’s an enormous number no?

  6. Posted by ex SF-er

    61 residences (78,000 sf),
    wow, an average residence of 1278 sq ft!
    and 8 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units!
    housing that can accommodate families! it’s about time.
    I know I’m dumb, but I think that 1278 sq ft is more luxury than much of the stuff that’s been build in the city of late…
    hope the city starts encouraging more of this type of housing and not just in the BMR category.

  7. Posted by noearch

    @marten: nobody said anything about windows being blocked off. No drawings show that.
    There are such things as side and rear setbacks that accommodate this issue, in addition to providing light courts.

  8. Posted by Invented

    Speaking of size (one of my recurring pet projects), big spaces are in — bc families WANT to make it happen in the city. Whether you’re rich, middle or low-income, let’s breathe a little and create family & comnmunity stability along the way.(really)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/realestate/27cov.html

  9. Posted by EH

    WHERE are these 8420 families now living? That’s an enormous number no?
    I dunno, maybe 40k people? that’s what, 5% of the population? South of Cesar Chavez and/or East of Potrero would take care of that easily, and the interest in the 80 spots doesn’t seem farfetched given the sweet downtown location.

  10. Posted by EH

    oh, and P.S. I miss the skyway.
    P.P.S. comments take like 60sec to post.

  11. Posted by redseca2

    Peskin and cronies will landmark that billboard in 5, 4, 3, 2….

  12. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Surface parking lots are far, far from the highest best use of land. Kudos to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency for taking this on.
    EH wrote:

    oh, and P.S. I miss the skyway.

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

  13. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Common areas and circulation space generally account for 25% to 30% of total floor area in this type of building. The rest is the actual units.

  14. Posted by lol

    Bob,
    That’s the spot occupied by the on-ramp of the now-demolished Embarcadero Freeway.
    For those interested into another prospective on what we’re talking about:
    The map:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Embarcadero_Freeway_map.png
    Look for the purple on-ramp between Battery and Sansome.
    From the sky:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Embarcadero-1978.jpg

  15. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Peskin will support this, CCDC is pretty tight with him. It will be interesting to see what the THD will say, I am sure they will come up with some phony reason to oppose it.
    Think of the children! Where will they park?
    I can’t believe 14 whole posts about a parking lot being converted to apartments with no parking without even one auto fetishist complaining.

  16. Posted by kathleen

    There should be parking, guest parking, overnight parking, abnd spot or two for zip car/leased parking stations. And come sopt with charging stations for electric vehicles.
    Good luck getting developers to build bigger. I have been on the phone for the 8 years yakking to developers pleading for bigger square footage per unit .less units per build, and better curb appeal.
    They all point to $$/sq foot and say no way.

  17. Posted by oscar

    @mike
    i write on behalf of noearch and the editor: “nimby, nimby, blah blah blah, nimby, nimby!!”
    agreed on all points but i believe that this project is already in the works and there isn’t anything you (or i) can do about it.

  18. Posted by Kernul

    Ok, I’ll take the flip side here. I have a problem in general with “BMR” or “Affordable” housing. In a city facing massive deficits why are awarding a massive subsidy to a select group of individuals/families? Put another way, how much revenue could the city receive if they had sold the rights to develop without any strings attached where units could all be sold at market rates?
    It sounds like this is being built regardless but I still find it annoying. Essentially the city is taking your tax dollars and awarding it to a very select few people/families. Why do these guys get special treatment when the vast majority of people have to buy at market rate?

  19. Posted by lol

    Kernul,
    1 – I agree that BMR is not in the majority’s interest. It serves a tiny segment of the lower middle class.
    2 – The core of the problem comes from affordability of the available supply, and a big part of this affordability issue comes from government (state and city) meddling with the flow: Rent control locking long term renters into valuable units, Prop 13 locking long term owners in their valuable property. Low turnover + demand that cannot be met = High prices. People want to keep their low tax base and low rent, therefore the only way to keep some lower middle class is spend money to keep them in! Of course you could solve the core of the problem, but try to sell that…
    3 – The subsidy is not actual money, but debt. When munis default en masse in a couple of years, the Fed will be printing a couple of 100Bs and put it on our kid’s tabs.
    4 – On the other end, one long term renter that buys into a BMR unit frees up one rental unit that can be adjusted to market price. A small dent in the problem, and at a hefty cost.

  20. Posted by Eric in SF

    And I found probably the best shot yet showing this site with a ramp:
    http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=File:Proposed_freeway_routes_embarcadero.jpg
    Lower left corner of the photo.

  21. Posted by natoma_head

    so glad to see other parts of the city do their part in supplying affordable homes. I’m sick of seeing it all being built in SoMa. Of course the neighbors will oppose it and it’ll probably end up getting built in SoMa anyway.

  22. Posted by anonymous

    this is a good view:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:San_Francisco_Skyline_with_Embarcadero_Feb_1982.jpg
    it was AWESOME

    A freeway like the East River Drive was more awesome than the Embarcadero now? OK. Well I guess the “Pave the Planet” folks get their say too.
    http://www.virtuar.com/ysf2/ap-Embarcadero-Street.htm#DSCN0826

  23. Posted by EH

    I didn’t say it was “more awesome than the Embarcadero” is now, I said it was AWESOME. It made huge chunks of the city more convenient for driving and made it easy to get back home over the bridge. Of course I’ve lived in town for some time now so this isn’t as big of a deal, but I’m still nostalgic.
    Hah:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TIjoedyjcI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZkRml9jU4M
    Go Youtube!

  24. Posted by anon94123

    ^^^Amazing! for those of us who lived here in the 80′s pre earthquake city, the Embarcadero Freeway was a love-hate thing, and the videos bring back memories. What I mean by love-hate regarding this freeway is that it was VERY ugly and ruined neighborhoods it rolled over, but VERY convenient, along with the Franklin-Gough extension for anybody that lived on the north side of the city. Herb Caen called the Embarcadero Freeway the “best ride north of Disneyland” because you looped around at great speeds while enjoying views of the city and waterfront. (Caen also HATED the freeway however). The new beautiful waterfront we now enjoy is a result of the removal of this freeway, as well as the additional slow moving traffic. I still wish there could be some type of tunnel connecting Lombard to the 101 or 80 freeway.

  25. Posted by kate

    This is a perfect location for this type of development. There is an elementary school just down the street, plenty of stores and amenities. The lot is on the boundary between downtown and single family housing. High density sustainable housing is great for this location. Plus the street is so empty and boring right now, it’s hard to believe it’s only two blocks from Embarcadero and a few more from the Ferry building. It needs some life, more people, trees, children, some restaurants maybe?

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