First new homes at Freedom West 2.0 could be under construction by late 2025, MacFarlane Partners says. DLR Group

By Sarah Klearman – Staff Reporter, San Francisco Business Times 

Six months after securing new funding commitments for the redevelopment of Fillmore’s Freedom West Homes Co-op, MacFarlane Partners is moving forward with what will likely be the first of the project’s residential buildings to get out of the ground. 

MacFarlane Partners, which is helming redevelopment of the 382-unit Freedom West alongside Avanath Capital Management, submitted plans Monday for a 115-unit, 100% affordable senior housing development with 1,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 880 McAllister St. 

Executive Chairman Victor MacFarlane, reached by phone Tuesday, said the 115-unit building could be under construction as soon as the end of next year — a timeline that puts it “at least a year” ahead of the larger Freedom West redevelopment. 

The 11-acre Freedom West was built out as a collection of low-rise multifamily buildings and surface parking lots in the 1970s — the community’s response, in a way, to the city-sponsored “urban renewal” programs in the two decades prior that had destroyed entire neighborhoods and displaced Black San Franciscans en masse. 

A rendering of Freedom West 2.0

A rendering of Freedom West 2.0. DLR Group

In 2020, co-op shareholders voted to approve MacFarlane Partners and Avanath’s vision for the site’s redevelopment, dubbed “Freedom West 2.0.” Those plans include the replacement of the co-op’s 382 existing units at no increase in housing costs for the inhabitants; 133 additional affordable homes; nearly 1,800 market-rate homes; a 150- key hotel; 20,000 square feet of commercial space; and a 6,000-square-foot STEM innovation center.

The megaproject, to be built over two phases, is expected to cost $2 billion and requires multiple layers of city approvals, including rezoning of the project site and environmental analysis. MacFarlane said Tuesday his firm will seek approval for the 115-unit senior building through SB 35, a state law offering an expedited path for affordable housing projects.

MacFarlane Partners submitted plans Monday for a 115-unit, 100% affordable senior<br />
housing project at 880 McAllister St., pictured here. The building could be the first piece of<br />
Freedom West 2.0 to come out of the ground.<br />

MacFarlane Partners submitted plans Monday for a 115-unit, 100% affordable senior housing project at 880 McAllister St., pictured here. The building could be the first piece of Freedom West 2.0 to come out of the ground. DLR GROUP

“We are still in the process of entitling the overall project, but because this is a finite, affordable piece on a parcel that meets an accelerated plan under SB 35, we can accelerate this portion of it without going through the larger (environmental review) for this project,” MacFarlane told the Business Times.

The 880 McAllister proposal comes after MacFarlane Partners announced last fall it had secured $27 million in funding commitments that would allow the entitlement process to proceed. The 115-unit affordable senior development, should it move forward, will replace some of the existing homes at Freedom West — a significant first step for the larger redevelopment, given the requirement that replacement units be built before their market-rate counterparts. And it is a glimpse of what the redevelopment of the co-op will do for both its residents and the surrounding Fillmore neighborhood.

Freedom West’s redevelopment would also represent one of the most significant investments in the Fillmore — if not San Francisco’s entire Westside — in its history. The co-op itself has fallen into disrepair over the years amid a dearth of outside funding available for its maintenance. As a co-op, it has long been ineligible for the kinds of funding mechanisms popular for encouraging investment in affordable rental housing and for government funding generally.

That shifted last year with the passage of SB 593, a new state law that will allow San Francisco to borrow against future tax revenue as a means of funding projects that replace homes lost to urban renewal, including Freedom West 2.0.

MacFarlane Partners is seeking various city approvals for the 880 McAllister proposal, including the creation of a new development lot for the building. The proposal would require demolition of two existing buildings at 870 and 880 McAllister; the goal, MacFarlane said, is to relocate the inhabitants of those properties to vacant units elsewhere within the co-op.

The timeline for the remainder of Freedom West 2.0 remains less clear: MacFarlane and Avanath are still working towards city approvals. Once those are in hand, the pair will need to secure funding for the $2 billion project cost.


This article was originally published in the San Francisco Business Times on April 30, 2024, and has been reposted here to share and consolidate information about Freedom West 2.0. The original article can be viewed here: