1296 Shotwell Frequently Asked Questions

The Mission District has historically been one of the most affordable neighborhoods in San Francisco. In the last decade, affordable-housing development in the Mission District has not kept pace with the rapid increase in demand and displacement. Though the neighborhood has seen significant market-rate development, the low rate of affordable-unit production has exacerbated the housing shortage. From 2000 to 2015, only 8.5 percent of the total units built in the Mission District built were affordable, ranking the neighborhood at the bottom tier of neighborhoods in percentage of affordable-housing construction comparable to Pacific Heights, despite the extreme need for families that need to live and work here.

MEDA and Chinatown CDC were selected by the City and County of San Francisco to develop 1296 Shotwell as a 100 percent affordable-housing development for seniors (age 62 and up), based on our commitment to ensure that the development of 1296 Shotwell Senior Housing would maximize the number of quality, healthy affordable apartments to meet the severe housing need of the Mission’s low-income seniors, and provide a rich array of services and open spaces in a design that speaks to both residents and neighbors.

The development team began gathering community input about 1296 Shotwell Senior Housing at the beginning of 2016 through communitywide meetings, as well as focus groups with neighbors and constituents of community organizations. Most of the comments received to date are related to the following topics:


Q: The current zoning only allows buildings to be built up to 65 feet, but the building is proposed at 85 feet. How is the building be able to be built to that height?
A: Through a series of community wide meetings and focus groups, the development team received strong community support in favor of increasing the height of the building beyond the current height as a way to start meeting the dire need for permanent affordable housing in the Mission. If the project is at 65 feet, it will reduce the total number of apartments by 20 units. The development team will be applying for the height increase through the 100 Percent Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP), which was passed in August 2016 by the City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Get more information on AHBP.

Wind Study

Q: The building will be nine stories tall. Has the project conducted a wind study?
A: A wind study of not only 1296 Shotwell, but also the adjacent project at 1515 South Van Ness, was conducted to assess the cumulative effect of wind from these two upcoming housing developments in the area.

The wind evaluation concluded that the project would result in less than significant impacts under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), for all pedestrian use areas in the vicinity of the site:

  1. The project would result in insubstantial changes in the 10 percent-exceeded wind speed, changes that would range from 0 mph to ±2 mph.
  2. The two cumulative developments proposed nearby would further reduce the wind effects of the proposed project.
  3. The project would be very unlikely to cause a wind hazard.

Based on these conclusive results, a wind tunnel testing of the project is not warranted.


Q: The housing development is not providing parking. How will this impact the neighborhood?
A: Future residents of 1296 Shotwell are envisioned to be healthy and active. Utilizing public transit in San Francisco is one of the ways of promoting healthy lifestyles. The project is situated near multiple bus lines and near the 24th Street BART Station. The building design encourages residents to walk, bike or ride transit. There is resident bike parking on site; however, the project team does understand that residents will have needs of transportation beyond what the current bus lines can offer. For residents who need access to a car to run errands or go on longer trips, a City Car Share pod will be conveniently located on Shotwell Street. The development team is also working on securing shuttle service for residents for shopping trips and medical-related needs.

Several community members expressed interest in advocating for residential parking permits. We hope to work with them and SFMTA to look into additional parking measures, including limited-hour residential parking.

Environmental Impact Report

Q: How do I get more information about the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) related to this project?
A: Please email or call Alana Callagy at (415) 558-6378. Alana is the Environmental Planner at San Francisco Planning Department.

Programming for the Residents

Q: What programming will there be for seniors?
A:As we hope our senior residents will age in place, we expect to have programs to help our seniors stay active and healthy. Site amenities include a walking loop in the resident courtyard, a community room that can host different activities by the residential services team, and roof decks on the eighth and ninth floors that can offer community gardening opportunities. The project team is working on possible arts programming with seniors, and partnership with neighboring senior services for the residents at 1296 Shotwell.

Application Process

Q: How and when can I apply?
A: We will announce the application process six months before construction completion. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will go through a lottery process. Selection will be based on your ranking in the lottery process.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in applying for below-market-rate rental opportunities, please follow updates on San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD)’s website.

Q: Who is qualified to apply?
A: 1296 Shotwell is a senior housing development designated for low-income seniors. To be qualified for residency, seniors will need to meet the income requirements. More detail will be provided as part of the application process when we are closer to construction completion.

More Information

Q: How can I continue getting information on staying involved?
A: Please provide us your contact information by emailing us or sign up on the 1296 Shotwell page “GET 1296 SHOTWELL UPDATES” heading.

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