Supes OK 55 Laguna project
by Seth Hemmelgarn
In a move that's expected to lead to a project that will include affordable housing welcoming of LGBT seniors, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, April 8 to amend the city's general plan, as well as zoning and planning codes, to allow for a mixed-use residential development at 55 Laguna Street.
The site for the development, which is near the LGBT Community Center, housed the former UC Berkeley Extension campus. Openly gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty recused himself from the vote because he owns a home near the site, which consists of almost six acres of land.
"This is the housing initiative that will help our organization create a safe and vibrant environment for all LGBT seniors who consider San Francisco their home," said Moli Steinert, executive director of Openhouse, in a statement issued after the vote. Openhouse is a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to LGBT senior housing issues. The organization has been working with developer AF Evans and the city on the project.
When the project is completed â€“ which will be more than three years from now â€“ it will feature at least 88 affordable units open to LGBT seniors and others. Besides the units for seniors, the development will likely include at least another 328 units, including 66 that should be affordable. The complex is also expected to have a publicly accessible park, a community center, and retail space.
AF Evans is supposed to consult with the city's Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board to ensure newly constructed buildings are compatible with existing landmark buildings at the site.
Preservationists have voiced opposition to the project. The site, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, was once home to the San Francisco State Teachers College. Two of the buildings on the site are expected to be demolished.
The cost of the overall development is expected to be about $171 million.
The board's vote is a near-final step in a process that has gone on for more than four years and has included the involvement of housing activists, state Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. All have been credited with helping to make more units in the development affordable.
The board is expected to hold its final vote on the project April 15.