NOT ONLY HAS THE SITE OF A former industrial warehouse in San Francisco returned to life, but its designer and architect have transformed the once-blighted property in an innovative way, with two separate, diverse-looking projects: a for-sale townhouse community for working families and rentals for seniors. Because of the initiative of BRIDGE Housing Corp. , a locally based affordable housing developer, the 3.14-acre site in the city’s Bayview District includes housing for multiple generations with outdoor space, a nearby mass-transit line, and postcard-perfect views of San Francisco Bay and Twin Peaks.
Construction began a year after BRIDGE purchased land from the San Francisco Redevelopment Authority in 2008 and had it rezoned.
The larger of the two projects, Armstrong Place Townhomes, consists of two parking garages and 124 for-sale townhouses, each with two to four bedrooms so that families with children can remain in the city and commute easily.
“San Francisco has a reputation for [having] quite expensive housing, but the city was trying to promote homeownership for middle- and low-income families to keep it vibrant,” says Cynthia A. Parker , BRIDGE Housing’s president and CEO, explaining the origin of the townhouse project. Most families buying the townhomes earn between 60 percent and 100 percent of the area median income, which is $97,000 for a family of four.
BRIDGE hired locally based David Baker + Partners Architects to design the units, which range from 1,100 square feet to 2,100 square feet and are priced at $175,000 to $345,000. Th e firm kept costs down by using a “simple, rectangular footprint, elevated catwalks for open-air circulation, and basic finishes, except for a few upgrades,” says Kevin Wilcock , a partner at Baker.
To build camaraderie, the architect sited a courtyard at the project’s center with a garden and play area.
David Baker + Partners also designed the site’s second project, Armstrong Senior Affordable Housing. The architect used a 40-foot-wide, landscaped, public pedestrian way to provide a sense of separation between the two projects without causing the building’s senior population to feel isolated. Armstrong Senior features 116 600-square-foot, onebedroom units spread among four upper levels.