Redeveloper partners with church to turn underutilized property into affordable housing to revitalize Tenderloin district

In its continuing effort to define and forge a new lifestyle experience for the middle income worker, Forge Development Partners (Forge) is looking for opportunities to transform underutilized properties throughout its home city of San Francisco.

On June 1, 2020, their third building program in the city was announced by the joint venture between Forge, a privately-held local development firm, and Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist at their 450 O’Farrell Street property.

450 O’Farrell Street property as it looks today.

Forge is partnering with Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to revitalize the church’s former project by creating 310 unique units of high-tech, high-touch rental homes targeted at middle-income workers.

Forge will also create a new 10,000 square foot turnkey worship space that allows Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to continue its mission in the Tenderloin community that it has called home for almost 100 years.

The city’s need to serve its middle income workers even while addressing the larger priorities of homelessness and COVID-19 was realized last week, when it issued the construction Site Permit allowing the project to proceed.

We are excited to work with Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to significantly add to San Francisco’s Essential Housing stock, addressing the needs of the city’s working families,” commented Forge Founder Richard Hannum.

With the help of our partners, we are not only addressing underutilized spaces, but also paying attention to a frequently overlooked corner of the market – housing for the middle income worker – and doing it all without government financing,” he added.

Forge, in partnership with world-renowned architecture firm Gensler, will integrate a wide-variety of innovations – from construction processes and building systems to high-tech interior design – to produce high-quality, sustainable right-sized scaled-living apartment homes at accessible rental price points.

Forge has been working closely with the Mayor’s Office and permitting departments on repurposing the 450 O’Farrell project, converting current approvals from luxury apartments into state of the art Essential Housing serving the workforce. Forge and Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist appreciate the City’s hard work and ongoing support for Essential Housing programs during these challenging times. By partnering with local groups, such as Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist and the San Francisco Interfaith Council on this project, Forge seeks to continue to develop underutilized properties to allow the city’s workforce to live where they work.

For the 450 O’Farrell project, the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist will exchange their property for a turnkey church and allow Forge to develop, own and manage 310 essential apartments sleeping up to four individuals with state-of-the-art private baths and cooking facilities in each unit. The repurposed design almost doubles the number of units from the previously approved plan, and increases the inclusionary Affordable Housing by a similar ratio.

The new 10,000 square foot church facility will remember its past by reusing of the stained glass windows, stained glass oculus, bronze clad entry doors and church pews allowing for services in a space that honors the original church. The new development provides a street-level Christian Science Reading Room serving the public for prayer and study, inviting greater community participation and engagement with the neighborhood.

As part of its quest to partner with thought leaders in the community, Forge is working with the San Francisco Interfaith Council and its Executive Director Michael Pappas on transforming the 450 O’Farrell Street church property in San Francisco.

Forge will identify church properties that could be similarly transformed into sensible projects that keep established churches in their communities while also allowing the City’s often overlooked middle income workforce to live where they work by providing new essential housing.

Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist Board President Ela Strong noted, “It’s thanks to innovative thinkers like Richard Hannum and Forge that we will be able to help meet San Francisco’s Essential Housing needs. Time and again, Richard has been able to see ways to help us accomplish our mission – from the idea of exchanging our available land for a new church and Christian Science Reading Room, to the creation of vital essential housing that middle income workers and their families can afford.

450 O’Farrell will consist of a 13-story, mixed-use building with a total of 310 state-of-the-art units, designed for maximum space efficiency with minimal comfort sacrifice. Here are a few project statistics:

  • 310 new 336 to 709 square-foot units sleeping up to four individuals
  • All units feature state-of-the-art private baths and cooking facilities
  • Roof decks and multiple interior courtyards and shared amenities for residents
  • Roughly 5,000 square feet of locally serving retail
  • 10,000 square foot church facility including historic artifacts from the existing structure
  • Street-level Christian Science Reading Room open to the public for prayer and study during the week
  • New sidewalks, trees and plants to add vitality and greenery to the area

Forge Development Partners, LLC is a redevelopment company focused on providing urban solutions for the nationally underserved area of essential housing. Their holistic approach to integrated innovation encompasses building design and construction, the use of technology, and concierge residential management to improve the resident experience and benefit the surrounding community.

Through the use of innovative design and construction techniques, Forge’s projects are scalable, sustainable and environmentally beneficial. Instead of relying on government subsidies, the company’s overall approach attracts Impact Investors while providing a rental price point that offers maximum residential value at a reasonable cost.

Images courtesy of Forge Development Partners.

See Forge Development Partners website.

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