WHEN SAN FRANCISCO built transit along its Third Street corridor, the vacant, former industrial site at 5600 Third St. stuck out. It didn’t seem to fit in with the surrounding community, which included a park across the street.
Enter BRIDGE Housing Corp. The locally based developer went to great lengths to incorporate the community in building Armstrong Place, which consists of 116 affordable senior homes and 124 townhomes that reflect the neighborhood’s historically African-American culture.
“There was a common push for Afro-centric design for new developments along the Third Street corridor,” says Kevin Griffith, a senior project manager with BRIDGE. So the firm opted for design details drawn from African textiles and motifs, including a courtyard wall inset with Ashanti tribal symbols.
The townhomes were affordable to first-time home buyers earning up to 120 percent of area median income (AMI). The apartments are designed to be affordable for seniors age 62 or older with annual incomes up to $39,750 for a household of two (50 percent of AMI); 20 percent of the senior units are set aside for the formerly homeless.
Though the townhomes and apartments differ, they fit together. “They’re not meant to be seamless, but they are meant to be complementary,” Griffith says.
There was nothing seamless about the financing of the project, however. BRIDGE combined funds from local and state agencies and HUD, among others, to make Armstrong Place a reality.