Developers, Community Advocates Reach Agreement Over Controversial Folsom St. Project

Photo: David Baker Architects
By Shane Downing - Published on May 09, 2017.

The developer of a controversial four-story mixed-use project at 2675 Folsom St. has reached an agreement with the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, averting an appeal that would have been heard by the Board of Supervisors today. 

The settlement was brokered by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who also recently negotiated to develop the 1515 South Van Ness Ave. construction project site as a temporary Navigation Center for the homeless.

Although Axis Development Group’s proposed development is a block away from the 24th Street corridor, Calle 24 expressed concern over how the development — adjacent to Parque Niños Unidos — could displace low-income families, remove historic murals and outsource labor that could be done by local workers.

Photo: David Baker Architects

All three issues were addressed in the compromise. The deal calls for 20 percent of the development’s 117 units to become affordable housing. Of those, 19 will be reserved for residents making 55 percent or less of the area median income. Another four will be capped at 100 percent area median income, reports Bay City News.

Ronen also worked with community advocates to get the developer's agreement in acquiring eight units of existing low-income housing. Ownership of the housing will be transferred to a local nonprofit that will maintain the units as long-term affordable housing.

Axis also agreed to use 100 percent union labor, quelling Calle 24's concerns that they would not tap into the local workforce.

In addition, the developer will provide a space on-site that it will rent to a non-profit arts organization for $1 a year for 55 years. A community art gallery space on the outdoor walkway between Folsom and Treat streets will also be created.

The concern over the historic murals has also led Axis to look into possibly reconstructing the mural on the existing building offsite. As part of the agreement, the developer will place a new mural elsewhere in the neighborhood, and possibly commission another mural for the new development.

"When developers are willing to work with the community,” Ronen said in a statement, “good projects can be built quickly. My door is always open to any developer or community member who wants to be part of the solution and will help us build affordable housing."

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