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San Francisco's Tenderloin To Get More Workforce Housing

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Forge Development Partners
A rendering of TL 361

Forge Land Co. plans to break ground on 231 units of workforce housing in the Tenderloin by year’s end. The prefabricated project will be split into two buildings: TL 361, built on 361 Turk, and TL 145, built at 145 Levenworth. It will provide a co-living environment for people earning less than $80K/year with no government assistance. Affordable housing reaching 40% area median income also will be available.

The prefabricated building will provide spaces of 250 SF up to 440 SF with shared community spaces on each floor. These spaces may include a yoga room, a theater and a shared kitchen/dining area. This project will be the first prototype of Forge’s solution for workforce housing, and the company is looking to do at least two more in the city.

For Forge CEO Richard Hannum, the Tenderloin was an ideal location for this kind of project.

“The Tenderloin is the most interesting neighborhood in the city,” he said. “There is new entertainment expansion on Market Street, the government center and access to every part of the city. It has the best transit through that area.”

One of the project’s investors, Evolve, said the area is transforming dramatically.

“With over $1B in the new development pipeline, the Tenderloin is perhaps the most developmentally vibrant neighborhood on the West Coast,” Evolve president Chris Fraley said. “Few areas have experienced such substantial deliveries as the recent influx of boutique hotels, restaurants, retail, creative office and residential into this already robust and economically diverse neighborhood.”

Both the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. have made many improvements to the area to create affordable housing. The TNDC has 39 buildings in six neighborhoods serving 4,100 people.

San Francisco's Tenderloin To Get More Workforce Housing
A rendering of TL 145

Hannum said the Tenderloin has a rich architectural history. Many of the 100-year-old buildings have been left intact and have not been subject to significant redevelopment. He said among the biggest challenges in building in Tenderloin is how to build a building without ruining the dynamics of the neighborhood.

“Our focus has been doing truly infill that does not displace people who are already part of that neighborhood,” Hannum said.

He said Forge’s projects will be one of the first modern buildings in a National Historic district. His company has done significant work with the design community, city planning and historic committees to create a project that fits within the fabric of the neighborhood.

While the older buildings used materials of the time, such as stucco and masonry, Forge’s new buildings will use metal-clad facades with copper that will age into a deep rich color similar to the brick of the old buildings. The rest of the building will use ultra-modern steel and glass.

San Francisco's Tenderloin To Get More Workforce Housing
A junior one-bedroom unit proposed for Forge Land Co.'s Tenderloin project

The building will incorporate Sustainable Living Innovations' building system with the help of contractor Swinerton. An energy system will be dependent on solar, and Hannum expects the building to operate with 50% less energy use. It also will be water efficient and function at about 50% of water use.

The prefabricated project will be built off-site in Sacramento. The entire project will use all-union labor. Hannum expects to break ground before the end of the year. Occupancy is expected by the end of 2018.

The project used the services of HFF, a San Francisco multifamily investment sales and equity placement group. HFF managing director Scott Bales served in a key advisory capacity.

CORRECTION, APRIL 6, 1:30 P.M. PT: A previous version of this story did not note that Evolve is one of the investors in the project. The story has been updated.