On January 21, 2022, Forge Development Partners and joint venture partner Bridge Investment Group showed that technologically advanced, privately financed workforce housing can be delivered in urban America.
Their TL 361 and TL 145 redevelopment projects in San Francisco’s long-distressed Tenderloin district are the proof. These projects are transforming ugly surface parking lots into affordable housing, which is desperately needed in order to revitalize the Tenderloin.
Through a unique integration of technology, innovative design and construction practices, as well as cutting-edge sustainability measures, the TL 361 and 145 Projects are providing high-quality housing that is accessible for the middle-income worker while being more environmentally responsible than traditional multifamily housing currently available. Combined with the operational services and systems, these projects showcase multiple important Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) characteristics and innovated approaches.
Forge CEO and Founder, Richard Hannum, says “We have honed our urban solution for over 10 years with a focus on providing affordable workforce housing for the future consumer. We are fortunate to have partnered with the best and the brightest to ensure TL 361 and TL 145 provide comfort, technological quality and wellness not found in other multifamily developments at any price point. This combination of technology, innovative design and sustainable construction practices will be Forge’s benchmark for all future projects, including an upcoming development at 601 Beech Street in San Diego.”
The TL 361 and TL 145 projects have benefited from the support of San Francisco Mayor Breed’s Office through her commitment to innovation in all forms of housing in response to the City’s housing crisis. Innovation built on currently applicable city policies created the opportunity, but real time efforts from the Mayor’s office helped smooth the construction process and made this sustainable, climate, and social justice responsive project a possibility.
With the recent release of the City’s Climate Action Plan and the Mayor’s ClimateSF initiative, the sustainability measures and advancements incorporated into TL 361 and TL 145 align with the City’s goals for increased climate resilience and provide an application of ESG in action.
A Bridge Investment Group representative said “We are delighted to have partnered with Forge on the TL 361 and 145 Projects. Our investment support has helped Forge and its partners create a new model that integrates environmental sustainability, social programs and key innovations with local governments and utilities that will serve as a new model for multifamily workforce housing in America.”
The projects have been innovative since ideation. Forge worked with Gensler and Olson Steel to design and construct the TL 361 and TL 145 buildings using the Pueblo Structural System. The steel used in this system is approximately 30% lighter and uses between 90-95% recycled steel, resulting in a quicker building construction and a smaller carbon footprint when compared with traditional multifamily building construction.
Lighter weight concrete used as part of the construction further reduces the building’s greenhouse gas impacts while remaining earthquake resistant. The cost and time savings measures are carried over to future residents through more affordable rents and the construction of more units in a quicker timeframe.
Forge and its partners also incorporated climate and health-conscious building systems as part of its efforts to construct environmentally sustainable developments. Both buildings include solar thermal water heating systems that reduce overall water boiler gas usage by 30% when compared with traditional systems. Moreover, the buildings incorporate a state-of-the-art HVAC system that provides the highest level of air quality available in multifamily units.
“Our HVAC system uses the most efficient MERV 13 antimicrobial filters on the market to create a pressurized hypoallergenic air supply for the building,” stated Hannum. “This filters out wildfire smoke and industrial pollutants, which is becoming more important due to climate change, as well as viruses including COVID-19.”
To further minimize the spread of viruses, Forge partnered with Homebase to develop Smart Apartment Homes for the TL 361 and 145 Projects, which will reduce contact with high-touch surfaces and provide a more seamless user experience. Smart Apartment Homes allows future residents to unlock their front doors, turn on lighting, adjust heating and cooling systems and more from an app on their mobile phone.
In addition, this technology will sense when residents aren’t home so that adjustments can be made to temperature controls to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. The building’s smart systems will also control elevator energy usage and the common areas HVAC system, while relaying building information to staff to further optimize energy consumption and cost savings. These systems will operate over a state-of-the-art Internet of Things model, which uses 5G to create a high-speed ethernet backbone for these systems and future residents internet use.
Beyond construction and technological innovations, Forge and Bridge also seek to build healthy communities through their partnership with Project Access, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is the leading provider of on-site health, education and employment services to middle and low-income residents.
Project Access will provide the TL 361 and 145 Projects with fully operational resources centers that serve as a community hub offering high-quality tailored programming and services such as cooking and fitness classes, financial management and leadership training, business networking events, social events and volunteer opportunities. Through these programs, Forge, Bridge and Project Access will give residents the tools they need to become healthier, further educated and financially successful.
Forge is also driving government innovations that are changing how we think about how multifamily developments are structured. In partnership with PG&E, Forge has obtained approvals for the first single metered multifamily property in the country in 30 years. Instead of individual meters tracking energy consumption of the units, utilizing single meter for the building achieves a minimum $40,000 in savings per unit and frees up space in the building for additional units by removing the storage space for the individual meters.
This single meter initiative is scalable, and Forge has obtained approvals to build a 34 story, 328-unit multifamily building in San Diego that will use this system to reduce costs and provide a state-of-the-art development for future middle-income residents in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.
“At the end of the day, it is not only about the steel, concrete or technology in the building,” concluded Hannum. “We are forging a new path with the next generation of housing for the Essential middle-income worker, and it takes all these pieces as well as a commitment to wellness for our tenants to develop privately-financed, accessible housing that allows our workers to live in the city where they work. Can we redefine the urban lifestyle with these technologically advanced buildings? Yes, with great partners, I think we can.”
Forge’s financial Partners, Bridge Investment Group and Freddie Mac, are helping make this vision for technologically advance buildings at middle income price points a reality. Under their aegis, TL 361 and TL 145 will deliver a minimum of 51% of units to be rented to those earning a maximum of 80% of the area median income (AMI) thanks to a unique Freddie Mac Multifamily unfunded forward commitment.
This will help keep rents affordable for 240 residents in the highest-cost market in the United States. Furthermore, Forge used CrowdStreet, one of the leading Financial Tech Platforms, to raise the initial equity for the project allowing accredited investors to invest in the next generation of multifamily real estate.
A model apartment will be available on site at TL 361 development at 361 Turk Street in San Francisco in early 2022.
Image courtesy of Forge Development Partners.