On June 24, 2021 in San Francisco, California, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved the 450 O’Farrell Church and Essential Housing project sponsored by Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, San Francisco. Two surface parking lots and a vacant church building will bite the dust to create three revitalizing new affordable housing assets for the Tenderloin community.
The 450 O’Farrell redevelopment project includes 316 units of essential workforce apartments with private bathrooms and modern cooking facilities, a new church building, and a street-level neighborhood reading room open to the public during the week.
“We’re very grateful,” said Church Board President Ela Strong. “This approval allows the Church to fulfil our religious mission and better serve the community. It also allows the building of much-needed new housing, which working families can afford, on our underutilized land.”
The 450 O’Farrell project is the realization of the church’s long-standing mission statement and 35 years of working with the neighborhood and potential development partners to provide projects that help revitalize the Tenderloin community.
At the Planning Commission hearing, Del Seymour, nicknamed “Mayor of the Tenderloin” said, “I’m satisfied that the project team has addressed all the concerns that were brought up. I strongly support this housing project and the community welcomes all types of housing models to continue the diversity of this area. I can’t wait to see the dignity it will bring to the Tenderloin.”
San Francisco Interfaith Council Executive Director Michael Pappas noted, “Seven years ago, the San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC) convened the most prominent faith leaders in our City, and formed the ‘Interfaith Essential Housing Task Force’. The ‘Task Force’ is committed to assisting and supporting communities of faith who are interested in repurposing their properties in order to create housing for the ‘missing middle,’ low paid workers and their families who provide ‘essential’ services to our City. For the past five years, the SFIC has been a vocal advocate and supporter of the 450 O’Farrell development project, as it represents the vision of the ‘Task Force’ and a model to be emulated by other houses of worship in our City.”
The San Francisco Interfaith Council convenes and amplifies the voice of San Francisco’s faith-based community. Its work centers on the important issues of civil rights, homelessness, housing affordability, and disaster preparedness.
According to SF Planning Department records 800 properties are owned and operated by communities of faith and religious institutions in San Francisco.
The Church’s partner for the approved project is Forge Development Partners LLC. It is anticipated that project construction will begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“We’re thrilled that the Planning Commission has approved the design for the Church’s project,” said Richard Hannum, Forge Founding Partner. “We look forward to working with the Church and the City to bring this workforce essential housing model to fruition so that new residents can enjoy a well-designed and environmentally-sustainable home in the same city where they work.”
The approved design includes providing 316 homes eligible for households making between roughly $26,000 to $115,000 per year – including first responders, restaurant and hospitality service employees, teachers, nurses, retail employees, cooks, iron and steel workers – who can benefit from this type of workforce essential housing.
The 450 O’Farrell Church and Essential Housing Project includes:
- 13 story, mixed-use building, including 316 new state-of-the-art residential units from 320 to 830 square feet sleeping up to four individuals
- Each residential unit features state-of-the-art private bathrooms and cooking facilities
- Roof decks and multiple interior courtyards and shared amenities for residents
- Church facility including historic artifacts from the existing structure
- Street-level Christian Science Reading Room open to the public for prayer during the week
- New sidewalks, trees, and plants to add vitality and greenery
- Project Access support of residents
- Step-away balconies
- Available bike parking
Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist: Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist has been in the Tenderloin community for almost 100 years .
Forge Development Partners, LLC is a redevelopment company focusing on workforce housing. They say that their integrated-innovation approach encompasses building design, construction, and operation, using technology and concierge residential management to improve residents’ living experience and benefiting the surrounding community.
Images courtesy of Forge Development Partners.