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San Francisco Muni Housing Plans Branded ‘Ugly’

Written by Sarah WrightPublished Nov. 03, 2022 • 12:00pm
A rendering show what the view of the new Potrero Yard development could look like from Mariposa Street. | Courtesy IBI Group

Newly released drawings of what a huge new housing project above a soon-to-be remodeled San Francisco bus yard have been slammed by city leaders as “ugly.”

The first look at the project, which was presented in front of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s governing board on Tuesday, is a rendering at just 5% of design—meaning there’s plenty of room for visual changes in the future.

Still, board members didn’t hold back on their critiques of the building’s visual aspects. 

“We just hope that picture was conceptual; I thought it was pretty ugly, personally,” said SFMTA Board chair Gwyneth Borden at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Vice chair Amanda Eaken also called attention to a proposed wall along 17th Street, which would separate the housing from Franklin Square park.

“I’m hoping that’s not anything like our final product,” Eaken said. 

A rendering shows what the view of the new Potrero Yard development could look like from 17th Street. | Courtesy IBI Group

The ambitious project that would mark the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s first time actually building and potentially making money off of a housing development. 

The almost 600 new homes could be completed by 2027 after a six-month delay. 

After Tuesday’s preliminary agreement with a developer team, Potrero Yard’s housing is expected to be mostly affordable. The project was initially estimated to cost at least $600 million, most of which will have to be financed up front by the developer. 

A rendering shows what the view of the new Potrero Yard development could look like from an aerial perspective. | Courtesy IBI Group

What likely won’t change is the general layout of the building. SFMTA’s acting Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Rewers said on Tuesday that the senior housing would be adjacent, but physically separate from the updated bus yard, while the family apartments would sit on top of both, with room for retail at the street level. 

“Transit and housing should go together, whether that’s building dense housing on transit lines or recognizing opportunities like this to not only modernize a bus facility, but also how we think about building more housing while we do,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement.

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