100 Percent Affordable Housing in the Mission, Plus Arts Space? Community Feedback on 1990 Folsom

Longtime Mission and San Francisco residents are sure to remember Rainbo Bakery, once a bustling neighborhood venture that, unfortunately, was compelled to shutter its doors a decade ago. The good news is that this abandoned bakery, at 1990 Folsom (cross street 16th), is now ready to bring grist for the mill to the community. The site will be transformed into 143 units of much-needed affordable housing by 2020. MEDA is partnering with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center on this project.

Preliminary plans from LMS Architects call for over 50 percent two- and three-bedroom apartments, with 20 percent of all units earmarked for formerly homeless families. To keep the Mission’s Latino community thriving for generations to come, families will be strengthened via connections to on-site child care, services and programs.

Additionally, the development will incorporate over 10,000 square feet of replacement Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) space. With a specific focus on serving the needs of the Mission’s arts organizations, the new PDR space maintains continuity with the site’s history, while also supporting the Mission’s heritage of creative risk-taking and artistic production. In the interim, a space is slated to open in June as Galería de la Raza’s temporary site in the old bakery building. To celebrate the arts, there is now a thought-provoking “Home Street Home” installation on the Folsom Street fence, plus three vibrant murals painted on the building’s exterior on the Shotwell Street side — all thanks to the talented artists from Pacific Felt Factory and the Growlery.

It is now time to gather feedback so that the 1990 Folsom affordable-housing development best meets the community’s needs. That’s why the Mission community meeting was convened the evening of May 24, with enthusiastic residents in attendance to impart their vision of 1990 Folsom.

MEDA’s Community Real Estate team sought to explain and garner feedback on:

    • Preliminary plans for the building
    • Community benefits from this housing
    • Arts space and residential services

To showcase the art aspect of the new development, Galería de la Raza’s Chris Cuadrado recounted a spoken piece at the beginning of the agenda, his powerful words describing place as the seat of identity. To further neighborhood identity, that arts organization also brought an on-site silk-screen machine, so that attendees could create their own poster exclaiming in bold colors, “El Barrio No Se Vende, Se Protege” (Translation: “The Neighborhood is Not For Sale, It’s a Protector.”). This was followed by #LaMisión.

LMS architects offered comprehensive insight into their vision for the site, ensuring the residents that their voices would be heard and design would reflect their input. This overview focused on art space, landscaping, building design, transportation and housing affordability.

A few residents shared concerns about 1990 Folsom’s lack of a parking structure; they were advised that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has long known of flooding issues in the area because the water table is so high in this part of the Mission, so it is best to not have a subterranean floor. Additionally, spending money on a parking structure would take monies away from building more affordable-housing units.

One neighborhood resident was enthusiastic about the window fenestration, which incorporates canopies to emulate the two-story Victorian homes that abound in the Mission.

Overall, feedback was positive and the community looked forward to 1990 Folsom no longer being a vacant lot — and being able to keep the neighborhood inclusive for all income levels.

“MEDA’s Community Real Estate team looks forward to more productive conversations with the community, as we gather feedback to make 1990 Folsom the best possible development possible. We seek to balance the real need for affordable housing with blending the building in with the existing neighborhood. Thanks to everyone who came out to learn about this exciting project,” explained Senior Project Manager Feliciano Vera.


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