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City celebrates groundbreaking of 96 affordable homes for formerly homeless as part of the Plumbers Union Project

New housing at 53 Colton Street will provide wraparound supportive services and stable homes for 96 adults exiting homelessness

Mayor London N. Breed today announced the groundbreaking of a new affordable housing complex at 53 Colton Street, which will provide homes for 96 people experiencing homelessness. This project is part of a new, mixed-use development at 1629 Market Street, also known as the Plumbers Union project. The new homes at 53 Colton, along with the construction of an additional 499 units of housing, is a key part of the revitalization of the greater “Hub” neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue.

The development advances the City’s strategy for economic recovery, which is centered in stimulating new job creation and investing in infrastructure that ensures San Francisco’s post-COVID-19 economy emerges more equitable and resilient than before. Pursuing the development of 96 units of new affordable housing for San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents makes progress on several recommendations made by the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force and illustrates San Francisco’s efforts to retain and support its residents. The overall Plumbers Union project is estimated to create 1,200 construction jobs.

“Projects like this one at 53 Colton are how we’ll recover from this pandemic and come back even stronger than before—by building affordable housing, creating good construction jobs, and supporting our most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Breed. “For the sake of our economic recovery and to make San Francisco a more affordable place to live, we must keep up our efforts to create new homes and make up for decades of underbuilding. The Plumbers Union project is the kind of innovative partnership that shows how to create mixed-use, diverse communities in San Francisco, and I want to thank all the partners who have worked together over the years to get us to this point in construction.”

The project also advances Mayor Breed’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, which will expand capacity the City’s Homelessness Response System and create 1,500 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), including the 96 units at 53 Colton Street. In total, the Homeless Recover Plan will make 6,000 placements available for people experiencing homelessness over the next two years.

53 Colton is a joint venture between Strada Investment Group and Community Housing Partnership (CHP), a nonprofit that currently operates the Civic Center Hotel Navigation Center, which will be renovated after 53 Colton opens in late 2022.

Approved in December 2017, the Plumbers Union project encompasses six buildings – five residences and a new union hall – across 2.2 acres fronting Market Street and bordered by 12th, Brady, and Colton Streets. New open spaces will include the Joseph P. Mazzola Gardens, a plaza, and mid-block passages, while restored historic façades along Market Street will anchor the 11,000 square feet of retail space. The publicly and privately-funded project is being developed by Strada in partnership with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 38 and its Pension Fund.

“Bringing new affordable housing units online at 53 Colton to stabilize almost 100 of our most vulnerable residents is critical to our City’s recovery from COVID and our homelessness crisis,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “Supportive housing is our best tool to end homelessness, and Community Housing Partnership has a long history of providing those quality services. I’m thrilled to celebrate another affordable development in District 6.”

As part of the larger development agreement with the City, the Plumbers Union project also worked with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) to preserve 66 affordable housing units at the South Beach Marina Apartments that would have otherwise seen their affordability expire.

“UA Local 38 is a proud partner in this transformative development,” said Larry Mazzola Jr., Business Manager and Financial Secretary Treasurer of Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 38. “The project will create much needed housing and union jobs, right at the doorstep of our new headquarters.”

“At Community Housing Partnership, our mission is to create a permanent home for people who have experienced homelessness,” said Rick Aubry, Chief Executive Officer at Community Housing Partnership. “The challenge in San Francisco is large and the solution requires all of us to work together; we have forged partnerships with the Mayor and the City of San Francisco, Strada, lenders, the state, and tax credit investors to achieve the goal. We are eager to turn over a set of keys to our first tenants in 2022.”

“53 Colton is part of a unique partnership between the public, non-profit and private sectors and organized labor that delivers almost 600 residential units, a new union hall and an important public park,” said Michael Cohen, Founding Partner of Strada. “Our ability to secure financing and commence construction in the teeth of the pandemic is a testament to the strength of that partnership.”

Crucial permanent financing for 53 Colton was provided by a $4 million investment from MOHCD that enabled the $52.5 million project to move forward, as well as state and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and a State of California Department of Housing and Community Development – Multifamily Housing Program Loan. The units will be supported through a City-funded Local Operating Subsidy Program contract and homeless applicants will be referred to the development through the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Coordinated Entry System.

“We welcome the addition of this permanent supportive housing that will be life changing for the formerly homeless adults who will be housed here,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, interim director of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “As we move forward, the healing power of PSH for individuals as they transition out of homelessness provides an opportunity to thrive.”