Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 02, 2024
San Francisco Celebrates Revitalization of Historic Tenderloin Hotels to Boost Affordable HousingSource: Google Street View

In a significant move for San Francisco's Tenderloin district, Mayor London N. Breed recently celebrated the completion of major rehabilitation efforts at the Ambassador and Ritz Hotels, two landmark residential hotels that cater to over 220 low-income and homeless individuals, according to the City's news release. The restored buildings, integral to the Tenderloin's historic fabric since 2009 as part of the National Register of Historic Places, are poised to provide affordable housing solutions to some of San Francisco's most vulnerable populations.

Breed's administration emphasizes the City's proactive approach to housing stating, "In order to deliver critically needed housing for our most vulnerable populations, we need to be a City of yes; we can’t do the same things we have been doing for decades," while thanking the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) and other local partners for aiding in the preservation of these monuments to the City’s progressive housing policies. The revitalization of these sites marks a progression from a historical context seeing the Ambassador serving as a haven during the AIDS crisis, to providing modern, secure homes fitted with essential amenities, the City has added approximately 1,000 affordable homes in the area since 2018 with a further 269 under development or renovation currently.

Details obtained through the City's announcement reveal the Ambassador Hotel, built in 1917 and hosting low-income individuals including those affected by the AIDS epidemic since the '80s under the management of activist Hank Wilson, underwent its second major TNDC-directed renovation. Completed in 2023, this update included seismic improvements, conversion of units to ADA accessibility, and modern amenities enhancements. Similarly, the Ritz Hotel, established in 1910 and catering to adults with disabilities, has benefitted from a comprehensive $16 million refurbishment strengthening its structure and updating the interior living spaces.

Katie Lamont, COO and Interim CEO of TNDC, captured the spirit of the projects by highlighting the importance of rehabilitating and maintaining such historic buildings by preserving not only the neighborhoods but the legacies they carry, the Ambassador is a testament to the City’s past open-armed approach to public health crises, such as the Bay Area’s AIDS crisis years and TNDC is proud to stand as the steward of this proud history Lamont said regarding the building's storied past. Funding for the extensive $116.6 million rehabilitation was pieced together using a mixed tax credit strategy alongside new loans and contributions from various City and State departments, with U.S. Bank stepping up as a key financial ally. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston underscored the significance of the renovated hotels, saying, "We appreciate all the hard work that went into renovating these District 5 buildings for the benefit of low-income San Franciscans for years to come."

The City's broader housing initiative, which includes the Mayor's "Housing for All" directive and a redesigned Housing Element, sees 2024 set to introduce 1,323 new affordable housing units with more in the pipeline — a step towards an ambitious target of creating 82,000 new homes over the next eight years.