UCSF Plans to Build Affordable Staff Housing at Mission Bay

By Lisa Cisneros on June 23, 2005

Photo by Mark Defeo

UCSF will build and rent affordable housing for staff who meet specific income criteria if the University is allowed to proceed with plans for its new medical center facilities at Mission Bay. Recently, the UC Board of Regents and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved the terms of an agreement for the 160-unit affordable housing project to be located just north of the Mission Bay campus. The housing development is a key feature in the agreement that will require the redevelopment agency to consent to the lease of 9.74 acres of land south of 16th Street from Catellus Development Corp. to UC, so that UCSF can build new hospital facilities. UCSF plans to develop a first-phase, 210-bed integrated specialty hospital for women's, children's and cancer services and an ambulatory care/translational research building at Mission Bay by 2012. UCSF officials intend for the rental units to be available to coincide with the 2012 opening of the new medical center facilities. UCSF Medical Center must build these new facilities to meet state seismic safety laws and expand and upgrade services to accommodate growing demand for highly specialized care. UCSF and redevelopment agency officials are expected to negotiate a proposed memorandum of understanding of the terms and affordable housing agreements by the end of August. If all goes according to schedule, the Regents, city officials and the agency commission could approve the deal by September 30. Accommodating Employees If the project is approved, UCSF will be the first campus in the entire 10-campus UC system to build and rent affordable housing for UC staff, who would qualify for the housing based on specific income criteria, according to Bruce Spaulding, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Planning. "As the second-largest employer in San Francisco, we should try to provide affordable housing for our staff," Spaulding noted. "If we can lease the land for the new hospital facilities, this housing project will be an added benefit for our staff." UCSF officials began negotiations with redevelopment agency officials and the Mayor's Office in February 2003 for the lease of land for medical center facilities. Mayor Gavin Newsom led the discussions that ultimately came up with the deal that satisfies mutual interests. "This is an agreement that everyone is happy with," Spaulding said. Under the terms, UCSF may offer up to 48 of the two-bedroom units to house staff (medical residents) and postdoctoral fellows and their families. To qualify for these units, a household's combined income cannot exceed 100 percent of area median income (AMI). Affordability levels are based on the AMI of three counties, as set by the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department. UCSF will offer 72 two-bedroom and all 40 one-bedroom units, as a first priority to staff and affiliates. To qualify for these units, a household's combined income for all occupants must not exceed 60 percent of AMI. Obviously, AMI affordability rates will be adjusted at the time the units are available. But based on current AMI levels, to qualify for the one-bedroom apartments which today would rent for $1,140 per month, a household's combined annual income cannot exceed $45,600. A three-person household's annual income cannot exceed $51,300 to qualify for a two-bedroom apartment that would rent for $1,283 a month. By comparison, monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in San Francisco today range from $1,700 in the Mission District to $2,700 in Pacific Heights, according to MetroRent. A two-bedroom apartment on Potrero Hill rents for $2,400 a month today. UCSF officials say thousands of staff members currently qualify to rent the affordable apartments, and expect that to be the case in 2012. Based on current high demand for affordable housing in San Francisco, the rental units likely will be offered through an outreach and lottery selection system or other similar selection process.
UCSF plans to build affordable housing for staff on a 1.6-acre parcel on block 7 if it is allowed to proceed with plans for new medical center facilities in an area known as the Mission Bay south site. (View larger image)
The 1.6-acre site for the proposed affordable housing development is located across the street from UCSF Mission Bay. The UCSF housing will be part of a neighborhood containing about 5,990 housing units north and south of Mission Creek. The units will consist of market-rate and affordable apartments and condominiums, both rental and for sale. Overall, about 1,705 units, or 28 percent will be affordable. The affordable units will serve a range of households, from those earning no more than 50 percent of AMI to those earning no more than 110 percent of AMI. The entire 303-acre redevelopment project at Mission Bay also will feature a 500-room hotel, mix of open space and public parks, retail, corporate and biotechnology companies, public facilities, including a school and a fire station, and the bustling UCSF campus. With three research buildings already operating, UCSF Mission Bay will next open a 430-bed housing complex for students and postdocs, a community center with a fitness, recreation and conference center, and parking garages. Investing in Mission Bay Building more affordable housing fulfills a few major UCSF obligations - offering affordable homes to its hard-working employees, serving a citywide need for affordable housing on land already designated for that purpose and compensating for lost tax revenues to the city since, as a nonprofit, public entity, UC is exempt from paying property, payroll, parking and other taxes under the state constitution. In UCSF's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), approved by the Regents in 1997, the University recognizes as one of its goals and objectives that UCSF should mitigate the adverse impacts of its development at Mission Bay and elsewhere in the city on both the cost and availability of housing. Specifically, the LRDP calls for UCSF to expand the affordable housing stock for its faculty, staff and students in consultation with the community. UCSF is making other significant investments in the revitalization of Mission Bay, as well. The University has spent about $675 million on projects completed or underway on the Mission Bay campus site and plans to invest another $225 million on projects in design, according to Spaulding. The University also is: Providing about 21,000 full- and part-time jobs at all UCSF sites. Contributing more than $60 million annually in direct sales spending in San Francisco, and about $700 million per year through employee wages and spending. Planning to construct more research buildings that will generate even more jobs and other substantial public benefits. Attracting private development, particularly biotech companies, which will increase intellectual and professional opportunities. Paying for required infrastructure improvements, including costs for street, sewer, lighting, etc. Offering employment and business opportunities for residents of neighborhoods in the southeastern part of the city. Providing free, low-cost and subsidized care through student and faculty-run homeless clinics, School of Nursing-run community clinics and at San Francisco General Hospital. Beyond contributing to the health of the economy, UCSF makes a significant impact through its world-renowned hospital, biomedical research enterprise and health science schools, which advance health care, make discoveries about disease and train tomorrow's health leaders. UCSF is committed to establishing San Francisco as a major international life sciences hub, Spaulding says. Source: Lisa Cisneros

Related Links

Expansion of UCSF Facilities in the Mission Bay South Redevelopment Project Area Term Sheet (pdf) Regents OK Plan to Build Specialty Hospitals at Mission Bay