Potrero 1010 incorporates a 1-acre park flanked on each side by residential structures.
Bruce Damonte Potrero 1010 incorporates a 1-acre park flanked on each side by residential structures.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on November 28th.

Over the past 12 years, David Baker Architects, Equity Residential, James E. Roberts-Obayashi Corp., and the city of San Francisco have transformed a onetime urban brownfield site into Potrero 1010, a 453-unit community that meshes mixed-income residential with neighborhood-serving public space in San Francisco’s Potrero neighborhood.

Potrero 1010’s two residential buildings, the Egg and the Wedge, stand on either end of the triangular site, framing the 1-acre public park in the center of the property. The park, once an underutilized boulevard, was landscaped by CMG and built out using San Francisco’s community benefit district funds. The space features a public dog park, a soft play surface, and an open-event lawn. While the park is owned by the city, Equity Residential is committed to maintaining the space.

The park’s placement divides the site’s residential footage into two, uneven parts. The Wedge covers almost half of the property, while the much smaller Egg sits on the opposite corner. “We had these two buildings on either side of the park, which was a good thing, because it’s a pretty good-sized project,” says David Baker, principal of David Baker Architects. “And if you divide it by a park, that breaks the scale a little bit more than one big pile of buildings.”

Baker wanted the Egg to look “as different as possible” from most modern multifamily housing, which he considers “really boxy.” He settled on a curved design ringed in standing-seam, galvanized metal, with a sawtooth edge on one side. The sawtooth’s angle directs the building’s view away from the adjacent freeway and toward the downtown area. “We really changed the feel of that building and made it really unique and interesting,” Baker says.

The Wedge features a geometric façade split down the middle by a mid-block pedestrian passageway. The path leads under the Wedge’s overhead resident passage, past open storefronts and ground-level “flex” lofts, and out to 7,000 square feet of PDR (production, distribution, and repair) space along the property’s northern edge. This space is now occupied by studios and galleries for the California College of the Arts.

Potrero 1010 opened its first residential phase in late 2016 and completed construction with the opening of the public park in 2017. The residential portion includes studio apartments, the flex lofts, and one- and two-bedroom units. One in five units is designated affordable and reserved for families earning 50% of the area median income. Beyond their residential use, the Egg and Wedge feature 18,000 square feet of community amenities, including lounges, a dog wash, and a fitness center, and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The community leased quickly, according to Baker, and now stands at 97% to 98% occupancy. “In these big projects, you can have permanent models, so they spent a ton of money doing this gorgeous model,” Baker says. “I was giving a tour of the building, and I said, ‘Oh, can I show people the model?’ And [the management] said, ‘They took it down.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ and they said, ‘Because we rented it.’ They didn’t need a model.”