Forge Development Partners, a privately held development firm, is continuing its efforts to transform underutilized properties into high-quality housing for middle-income workers in its home city of San Francisco. Forge is partnering with Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to revitalize the church’s 450 O’Farrell Street property in the Tenderloin neighborhood.
The Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist is exchanging its property for a 10,000-square-foot turnkey worship space and allowing Forge to develop, own, and manage 310 new 336- to 709-square-foot apartments sleeping up to four individuals with state-of-the-art private baths and cooking facilities in each unit.
“We are excited to work with Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to significantly add to San Francisco’s essential housing stock, addressing the needs of the city’s working families,” said Forge founder Richard Hannum. “With the help of our partners, we are not only addressing underutilized spaces, but also paying attention to a frequently overlooked corner of the market—housing for the middle-income worker—and doing it all without government financing.”
Forge has been working closely with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office and permitting departments on repurposing the 450 O’Farrell Street project and converting current approvals from luxury apartments to units serving the workforce. Last week, the team was issued its construction site permit allowing the project to proceed.
According to the developer, the repurposed design almost doubles the number of units from the previously approved plan and increases the inclusionary affordable housing by a similar ratio.
Forge is partnering with architecture firm Gensler on the project to produce high-quality, sustainable, right-sized apartment homes with accessible rental price points. The team will focus on innovation—from construction process and building systems to high-tech interior design.
The new church facility will pay homage to its history by reusing stained-glass windows, a stained-glass oculus, bronze-clad entry doors, and church pews honoring the original church. The project also will include a street-level Christian Science Reading Room serving the public for prayer and study.
“It’s thanks to innovative thinkers like Richard Hannum and Forge that we will be able to help meet San Francisco’s essential housing needs,” said Ela Strong, Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist Board president. “Time and again, Richard has been able to see ways to help us accomplish our mission–from the idea of exchanging our available land for a new church and Christian Science Reading Room to the creation of vital essential housing that middle-income workers and their families can afford.”