Urban Infill: Taking Affordable Housing to a New Level
About 70 mi west of the Gleason Apartments, Mercy Housing is constructing Westbrook Plaza in downtown San Francisco, a $33.6-million, mixed-use, urban infill project with affordable housing and a community health center. “This project is going to have a huge impact on the community,” says Rosalba Navarro, project housing developer for Mercy. “We don’t have pharmacy services in that neighborhood and the clinic is going to have a pharmacy that is not only open to patients but to the community in general.”
Located in the South of Market District of San Francisco, the Westbrook Plaza will consist of 48 affordable housing units, a 20,000-sq-ft community health center, common room, small pharmacy and underground parking.
The health center will include exam rooms, dental services and on-site space for supplemental health-care services such as health education, social services and HIV/AIDS services.
Navarro says the residences will be affordable to households earning 45% to 50% of San Francisco AMI, which is approximately $72,000.
The 97,000-sq-ft project broke ground in December 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in October. The project team includes San Francisco-based Solomon ETC as architect and San Francisco-based Herrero Contractors as general contractor.
The development is a joint venture between Mercy Housing California and South of Market Health Center (SMHC), a non-profit community health center providing comprehensive medical, dental and podiatry services to people who have difficulty getting health care.
“The driving force for this development was the South of Market Health Center,” Navarro says.
She says the clinic tried for years to get a new facility built in the neighborhood but couldn’t make it happen until the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency suggested adding a housing component to the project to make the approval process easier.
The clinic took the advice and ended up partnering with Mercy Housing California, Navarro says.
“We were able to maximize the site by including housing and the clinic, and the fact that we were able to marry these two together is unusual and a huge community service,” Navarro adds.