A rendering of the proposed building at 880 McAllister St., a part of the larger Freedom West development that will include more than 100 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. DLR Group

By Laura Waxmann April 30, 2024, San Francisco Chronicle

A $2.3 billion redevelopment to remake an aging 382-unit housing cooperative in San Francisco’s Fillmore District could include more than 100 homes earmarked specifically for seniors. 

An application filed earlier this month with the city’s Planning Department by MacFarlane Partners, the developer spearheading the remake of the so-called Freedom West co-op, proposes the construction of a new 115-unit, 100% affordable senior building with a 1,200-square-foot ground floor commercial space at the corner of Laguna and McAllister streets. 

The building is one component of the larger Freedom West 2.0 project, which, when built, will place more than 2,300 market-rate units and 505 affordable homes at 820 McAllister St. The new affordable homes will include replacement units for residents of the existing co-op, which is slated to be demolished. 

The project also includes plans for a 250-room hotel along Fulton Street, a day care center and an “innovation technology” center. 

The senior housing building would consist of 80 one-bedroom and 35 two-bedroom apartments and rise in the place of an existing building that currently has 24 two-bedroom units, 19 of which are occupied. Under California’s Density Bonus law, the project is requesting 33 feet in “bonus height,” which would increase the building’s height above the area’s 40-foot height limit, growing it to a total of 73 feet, or seven stories. 

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

A rendering of the proposed building at 880 McAllister St., a part of the larger Freedom West development that will include more than 100 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. DLR Group 

A representative for MacFarlane Partners confirmed Tuesday that the senior building would be first in line for construction once the project breaks ground, thanks to SB35, which streamlines and expedites the construction of affordable housing. 

The building’s construction means that Freedom West’s most vulnerable residents will be relocated into new housing with “greater alacrity,” the representative said. 

Some 60% of the Freedom West residents, or shareholders, are seniors, and many have lived in the community for decades. They’ve agreed to sell two-thirds of the property to the developers for redevelopment into market-rate housing, but only after the replacement units and new affordable units have been delivered. 

The development team initially submitted an application in 2020 indicating that it planned to replace the existing co-op units and add new market-rate homes and affordable homes. 

The Freedom West 2.0 project has yet to win its approvals — and, like most other large development efforts in San Francisco in recent years, it faced delays as it struggled to secure financing in a changing market in the wake of the pandemic. But late last year, it received a needed boost by CommonSpirit Health, the largest Catholic nonprofit health system in the country, which, through its impact investment program, allocated $5 million to the redevelopment plan. 

MacFarlane’s CEO, Landon Taylor, told the Chronicle at the time that his team and management partner Avanath Capital Management had also raised $27 million in operational stabilization and predevelopment funding for the project. He said previously that the team faces close to $581 million in upfront costs for the project’s first phase, before the market-rate units can be built and profits can be made. 

According to the most recent timeline given for the project, the entitlement process is expected to wrap up by next year, and construction could start in late 2025.

This article was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle 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: https://www.sfchronicle.com/realestate/article/s-f-housing-seniors-19431447.php#