City Celebrates the Grand Opening of New 100% Affordable Housing Project Adjacent to Balboa Park BART Station

Located in the Outer Mission, Kapuso at the Upper Yard provides 131 affordable homes for low-income families, including 39 homes for public housing residents
September 28, 2023

Today, Mayor London N. Breed, Senator Scott Weiner, and representatives from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) joined local community leaders to celebrate the grand opening of Kapuso at the Upper Yard, a new 100% affordable housing development in the Outer Mission.

Located at 2340 San Jose Avenue on a city-owned lot adjacent to the Balboa Park Area Rapid Transit Station (BART), Kapuso at the Upper Yard is an affordable, mixed-use, transit-oriented development with 131 apartments for low- to moderate-income families.  

“Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a prime example of transit-oriented development done right. By repurposing this underutilized parking lot into more than 131 new homes, we are doubling down on our commitment to increase public transit ridership and provide improved services for our residents,” said Mayor Breed. “As we work to continue to build affordable housing citywide to reach our housing goals, we need to keep in mind the families that need housing near public transit or in areas that are accessible by walking or biking.”  

This project was approved and constructed under California Senate Bill 35 (SB 35) – a statute authored by Senator Scott Wiener that addresses some of the hurdles for approving new housing development and streamlines multifamily infill housing with a minimum number of affordable units. In addition to providing affordable housing, eligible projects must follow certain labor provisions and be consistent with local planning standards. In San Francisco alone, more than 3,000 new homes – including more than 2,600 affordable units – have been approved under SB 35.  

“SB 35 has been a game changer in expediting housing approvals,” said Senator Wiener. “This project is proof that San Francisco can turned the tide toward building the housing we need after decades of obstruction. We have a long way to go to fully address our affordability challenges, but we now have powerful tools to support local leaders in tackling this critical problem.”  

The transit-friendly development is served by a multi-modal transit network including BART, multiple MUNI bus lines, a busy interchange of Highway 280, and dedicated bike lanes a few blocks away. The conversion of this former parking lot into transit, social, and cultural infrastructure demonstrates the community's ambitious vision to leverage the multiple benefits of affordable housing.  

“Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a testament to what community groups, different government entities and non-profit organizations can accomplish if they all work together,” said BART Board President Janice Li. “Building affordable housing on public land right at a transit hub is a monumental achievement that will keep working families here in our city.”  

Major financing for the $119 million housing project was provided by a $22.4 million investment from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD). Additionally, funding from the State Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) and Infrastructure Infill Grant programs — administered by the California Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) — supported the development, as well as renovations to the Balboa Park BART Plaza and bike and pedestrian safety improvements.  

“We at HCD are proud to help build sustainable communities where residents are not dependent on cars to access jobs, amenities, and opportunity,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “Developments like Kapuso at the Upper Yard provide the foundation of housing security – and the connection to community – that allow all Californians to thrive.”  

“Too many of California’s essential workers and their families struggle to find affordable, available housing in the communities in which they work,” said BCSH Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. “Kapuso at the Upper Yard is exactly the kind of development we need more of in California – an affordable development that is climate friendly, next to transit, and with services and amenities on-site to promote a sense of community.”  

Residents will benefit from built-in resident services and support networks, including an onsite licensed early childhood education center operated by the YMCA with an outdoor activity area, a Family Wellness Community Resources Center operated by Mission Housing Development Corporation’s Resident Services Department, a bicycle maintenance shop operated by local community organization PODER, and two additional commercial retail spaces.  

Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a public-private partnership with the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, Mission Housing Development Corporation, and Related California. The nine-story building was designed by architecture firm Mithum and built by Cahill Contractors.   

“We feel Kapuso at the Upper Yard sets a new standard for affordable housing in San Francisco. It is a shining example of what community development should be — from its inception as an ideal conceived by community to the planning to its design to its construction,” said Sam Moss, Executive Direction at Mission Housing Development Corporation. “From Day 1, the goal was for Kapuso to represent the heartbeat of this diverse community and today is vindication of what happens when we all come together to accomplish the greatest of all goods — build quality affordable housing.”  

“Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a great example of affordable housing best practices. It is transit-oriented, activates a formerly under-utilized publicly owned site, and leverages partnerships between the city, state, and transit agencies to create well-located, new affordable housing,” said Ann Silverberg, Chief Executive Officer at Related California, Northern California Affordable and Northwest Divisions. “As one of the first projects to use SB 35, Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a testament to the power and impact of the state’s new entitlement streamlining tools. Related California is grateful to the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, Senator Wiener, BART, State of California, and the community for their partnership to make this ambitious development a reality.”  

Increasing housing affordable to lower-income and vulnerable residents is a key priority in the City’s Housing Element which calls for additional funding for affordable housing production and preservation, as well as Mayor Breed’s Housing for All Executive Directive that sets out the steps the City will take to meet the bold goal of allowing for 82,000 new homes to be built over eight years. The completion of Kapuso at the Upper Yard is a small but significant step in achieving the City’s housing goals.